The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) is making it easier for Jamaicans to access the data it publishes.
Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank, Director General at STATIN, Carol Coy said that the agency’s publications are no longer for sale and can be accessed by everyone.
“We have stopped selling our publications. They are free on the website…in what is known as Open Data Format. So, persons can just download the information,” she noted.
Ms. Coy said that the data produced by STATIN is used by various groups including the government, academia and business for informed decision-making.
She said that STATIN has a relationship with educational institutions where information is provided to students for use in their School-based Assessment (SBA) and handbooks developed for Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) students “using the data out of STATIN to relate to what is in the syllabus and what they do”.
“We give the publications to schools free. We look at statistics as being a public good and it is the way to get persons to start using data in decision-making,” she added.
Meanwhile, Deputy Director General at STATIN, Leesha Delatie-Budair, told JIS News that Jamaica’s ranking with regards to the openness of statistics has improved.
She said that Jamaica was ranked the most improved country by Open Data International in its 2018/2019 annual report, “directly because of the concerted efforts of STATIN”.
“When we saw our first ranking, we were right at the bottom and we decided that it was completely unacceptable… so we made a concerted effort to make the data more accessible,” said Ms. Delatie-Budair.
“Everyone needs to seek after information. We are improving the way we disseminate information, so we are putting it out in a graphical format – we’ve started using infographics to make it more digestible,” she pointed out.
Ms. Delatie-Budair said also that STATIN has increased its engagement with the media and the public to promote the use of statistics and the work that is being done by the agency.
The Deputy Director General is encouraging persons to visit STATIN’s website at statinja.gov.jm or its social media pages at statinja for information relating to the gross domestic product (GDP), the consumer price index (CPI), population estimates and other economic statistics, along with the labour force and environment statistics.