The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) has launched three handbooks to assist secondary school students pursuing studies in economics, geography and sociology, particularly in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE), and their teachers.
The handbooks are the brainchild of Director General, Sonia Jackson, and are the institution’s response to the students’ need for statistical data in undertaking school-based assessments (SBA) and other academic course requirements, in their areas of study.
The launch was held at the agency’s Cecilio Avenue office in Kingston on Thursday (October 15). It formed part of activities marking Statistics Week, and coincided with the inaugural observance of CARICOM’s Statistics Day, under the theme: ‘Better Statistics, Better Management, Better Development’.
STATIN commemorated the day under the theme: ‘Statistics Today – The Foundation for Tomorrow’. The subjects were selected based on the frequency of requests for information from students.
Board members of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), Myrtle Halshall (left), and Dr. Wayne Henry (centre), and Director General, Sonia Jackson, pictured during the launch of three Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) handbooks, published for use by secondary school students and teachers of geography, economics, and sociology, by STATIN at it’s Cecilio Avenue office In Kingston, on Thursday (October 15). The launch formed part of activities marking Statistics Week and coincided with the inaugural observance of CARICOM Statistics Day, under the theme: ‘Statistics Today – The Foundation for Tomorrow’.
Deputy Director General of STATIN, Annette McKenzie, noted that the initiative was also part of the agency’s efforts to remain “relevant” to its clients, particularly young people.
STATIN’s Director of Research, Design and Evaluation, Day-Dawn Simon, said that the publications were tailored to meet the needs of geography, economics and sociology students, whose teachers had approached the agency for assistance in gaining a better understanding of statistics and tools of statistical analysis in teaching the disciplines.
The consultations resulted in the publication of the handbooks, primarily by four of STATIN’s departments. The economics handbook was prepared by the Economic Accounting Division; the sociology handbook by the Censuses and Demographics Statistics Division; and the geography handbook, jointly by the Geographic Services Unit and the Research, Design and Evaluation Division.
The economics handbook introduces macro-economic issues, and covers topics such as national income, international trade and the consumer and producer price indices.
The sociology handbook covers population statistics and examines a number of rates, rations, averages and others measures used to track trends in the population. It also provides information on the components of population change.
The geography handbook focuses on population and settlement, and issues related to development. It addresses some of the very topics covered in the economics and sociology handbooks, although the treatment is different, the Director outlined.
Noting that each handbook only addresses selected topics in the current syllabus, Ms. Simon disclosed that teachers, particularly of geography, were already requesting notes on areas such as poverty, tourism and the informal sector.
“Your feedback will be invaluable, as we seek to improve the output and as we strive to make statistics a bit easier to assimilate by our student population,” she assured.
Chairman of STATIN’s Board, Professor Gordon Shirley, who launched the publications, noted that the Institute constantly searches for ways to increase the relevance of data they provide for their clients.
He said that it has engaged private and public sector entities, and the wider society to ascertain how the data can be used to better inform decision making processes. They have also engaged stakeholders in the international community.
He added that, because STATIN has become more business savvy, it has figured out that it should be developing the market for users of data. The Institute has decided that they need to become engaged in ensuring that there are more graduates with an interest in, and a desire to understand data.
” So, these handbooks have been developed and designed to help students become more interested in the data, to understand how the subjects that they are doing can be applied in a practical way, or how data can be used to illustrate some of the concepts that they are learning,” Professor Shirley said.
Several high schools from across the island, whose students and teachers attended the launch, were presented with copies of the publications and the accompanying compact discs.