Statistical literacy is a term that used to describe the ability of a person or a group to understand statistics. As we know that the statistics is the science of making effective use of numerical data relating to groups of individuals or experiments. The statistics is a science of using information, discovered from studying numbers. It deals with all aspects of this, including not only the collection, analysis and interpretation of such data, but also the planning of the collection of data, in terms of the design of surveys and experiments.
Statistics has its own identity like physics, chemistry biology mathematics etc. Each of the discipline has its own uses and methods which give the status of a separate discipline. Same is the case for subject ‘Statistics’ which has own uses and methods for knowledge of statistical literacy. Broadly speaking the statistics is the science which deals with the method of collecting, classifying, presenting, comparing and interpreting numerical data collected to thrown some light on any sphere of enquiry.
There are two main objectives of statistics, one is to enlarge knowledge and experience and other one is to improve the precision of the ideas/polices formulated different fields. These two objectives can done by presenting the facts in a definite form, condensations of mass of figures, comparison, correlation, testing for formulation of polices and predication. On the other hand, statistics has many useful uses such as to make predication, forecasting future demand, forming polices like a production schedule, to solve complex problems, decision of polices and implementation etc. Further statistics have an application to develop the concept of honesty, accountability, ease excess, use of information, quality assurance etc.
Statistical literacy is an interdisciplinary topic in fields such as mathematics, statistics, education, psychology and linguistic and last many decades, the researchers have been discussing this interdisciplinary for research and new findings. It is now at every international level forum that statistical literacy making data meaningful.
Statistical literacy is the ability to understand and critically evaluate statistical results that permeate our daily lives coupled with the ability to appreciate the contribution that statistical thinking can make in public and private, professional and personal decisions. It requires mainly mathematical and statistical skills, as well as the ability to interpret the figures and to distinguish between valid and invalid data. It also enables an individual to assess the information that figures provide and understand what the data reveal about the world.
Traditionally, statisticians have been occupied with producing figures. It have been recently started to consider that statisticians can only communicate successfully with people who use our statistics if they can fully understand them. Statistical agencies have therefore been launching several initiatives to increase statistical literacy. The initiatives are aimed at scholars and students, journalists, decision makers in politics and businesses, and last but not least, the general public. It is correctly said by some export that the extent of economic development of a country can best be known by finding out the extent to which statistics and statistical organization has development there. Before going to further, let us know more about scope of statistics.Now-a-days statistics as a subject has greater scope with high job opportunity from lower position to higher position in public and private sectors as compared to other subjects.
There are many matters in our daily and day-to-day life which are linked with statistical literacy. Here I draw attention to health statistics. Health statistics is uncountable matter. The statistics of health is derived from the people, households, establishments and government through various surveys and other modes of collecting data.
The health is dependent upon the medical and sanitation facility of the people, household, establishment from government and non-government organizations. The facility can be determined by the statistics. The true statistics of health leads to the real health of the society and population. Here true statistics of health and related issue will depend upon the honesty, truthfulness, willingness, help and response of the people, households, establishment and government.
As the good health is one of the important goal of sustainable development with having number of indicators which was adopt by all UN member countries of the world. All UN member countries signed up to an ambitious package of goals in year 2015 that called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This agreement commits by UN members, including India to make greater efforts to end poverty and hunger, protect the Earth, defend human rights, and promote equality between men and women. The package contains a total of 17 goals that are to be achieved by 2030.
The Sustainable Development goals are (1) End poverty (2) Zero hunger (3) Good health and wellbeing (4) Quality education (5) Gender equality (6) Clean water and Sanitation (7) Affordable and clean energy (8) Decent work and economic growth (9) Industry, innovation and infrastructure (10) Reduced inequalities (11) Sustainable cities and communities (12) Responsible consumption and production (13) Climate change (14) Life below water (15) Life on land (16) Peace, Justice and Strong institutions and (17) Partnerships for the goals.
As we know that statistics or data is to measure the progress of SDGs which are base for quality and for measuring country’s performance which showed the importance of the literacy of statistics nowadays at every national and international forms. There are a lot of debates, workshops, seminars and conference regarding how to develop the real statistics for development, growth and wellbeing. The development of statistics also depends upon the statistical system of the country through out in the world.
Although, some progress has been made in strengthening the statistical system in many countries in the world including our country which highlights the role of statistical literacy but this progress is uneven and continues to develop strong and uniform statistical systems for population trends.
No doubt there is celebrations of statistics day of every country for awareness, how to develop the statistics for development, growth and wellbeing. In our country, there is celebration of statistics day on 29th June every year. The union ministry of Statistics and programming implementation and other statistical setup of the country celebrate statistics day on 29th June every year with a theme. The theme of the statistics day 2019 was “Sustainable Development Goals” and the theme of the statistics day 2018 was “Quality Assurance in Official Statistics”.
The National Statistical Office (NSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India Srinagar has also to celebrate Annual Statistics Day on 29thJune, 2019 with a prescribed theme mentioned above. Every year the Statistics Day is celebrated in order to create awareness among the people especially the younger generation by drawing inspiration from Late Prof. P. C. Mahalanobis about the role of statistics in socio-economic planning and policy formulation of the country.
At this movement the domestic requirements for good governance with accountability that statistical literacy in the forms of indicators used the tools for evaluating government performance and having increased demand for reliable Statistics for population related issues.
The good and bad statistical literacy depends upon the wellbeing of the people individually, household, establishments and government functionary. The individual and household should be aware of surveys census or administrative data set for basis statistical majors also the individuals and households should know the limitation of the type of the study or data source. For data generators and data users, it should be in mind to produce or generate true statistics developing the statistical literacy for future generation at every level.
In order to improving statistical literacy for making data meaningful, the following have the important role for understanding the concepts and definitions of the basic statistics. Teachers, researchers, skilled readers and critical thinkers should integrating statistics concepts and reasoning to the data users and data creators from elementary years through a secondary schools, technical institutions and vocational studies and competent consumers of information.
School teachers need to be able to teach statistical concepts and convey the importance of statistics with skilled readers and interpreters of the statistics information. This should ultimately ensure the social progress, good governance and solid business leadership in the world.All these statistical literacy are needed for developing policy, guidance, confirming progress and monitoring outcomes in this age of evidence-based decision making.
Author is Director, Field Operations Division (FOD) of National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, regional office, Srinagar