Government officials complete six-month UN course on statistics

Thirty-three government officials from 27 African, Latin American and Asia-Pacific countries, recently completed a six-month statistics course. The course was conducted by the Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (SIAP), part of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in Chiba Japan.

Participants, who were drawn from developing countries that lack skilled statisticians, mastered subjects essential for collecting and analyzing statistics. These subjects included survey and statistical methods, economic statistics, social and demographic statistics, and MDG indicators.

Participants had the chance to get out of the classroom and conduct a real life statistical study of foreigners living in the Tokyo International Center of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). All aspects of the study, from the planning stages to writing the final report, were carried out by the students.

Participants were asked to draw up action plans to show how they will implement what they learned after returning to their countries. They were also asked to teach their colleagues back home about the skills that they gained during the course and to submit two progress reports to SIAP, three months and six months after returning home.

While all participants performed well, Ms. Aileen Sobrevilla Oliveros was singled out for special recognition. For her outstanding performance she was given this year’s Raymond T. Bowman Prize, which is awarded to the best participant for his/her performance in the course.

A closing ceremony was held on Friday, 14 March at SIAP, and was attended by representatives of the diplomatic community, and ministries of the Government of Japan.

As part of the ceremony, Mr. Emmanuel Amonoo Cobbinah, a participant from Ghana, delivered a farewell speech on behalf of all the 33 participants. Mr. Cobbinah urged his fellow students to “not forget to keep the vision alive. We came as individual participants, but we are parting as a united force”. He noted that the participants are now “a network of statistical resources, fired up to champion the course of quality official statistics in our respective countries and the world as a whole. We can not afford to fail in this mandate”.