UN Uses Distance Learning to Boost Statistical Training for Developing Countries

Training for government statisticians in the Asia-Pacific region received a boost this week thanks to a new distance training course, provided by the United Nations Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (SIAP). Twenty statisticians from India and Cambodia completed a nine-day training course today learning from lecturers based in Japan through videoconferencing.

The trial course was conducted by SIAP, based in Chiba prefecture near Tokyo, in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Cambodia’s National Institute of Statistics and India’s Central Statistical Organisation. The students attended their classes using videoconferencing facilities located in local JICA offices.

SIAP is a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). It aims to strengthen the capability of the developing countries to collect, analyze and disseminate timely and high-quality statistics by providing fellowships, training courses and workshops, and course design and materials. To date, it has trained about 11,000 people from more than 120 countries and territories.

This latest training course focused on the use of an integrated statistical software package known as STATA. “It has been found that there is a substantial need to improve the ability of government statisticians in data analysis and manipulation by taking advantage of statistical software,” said Chultemjamts Davaasuren, SIAP’s director. “This training course addresses that need and we hope it will serve as a model for other courses throughout the region.”

The Institute is planning to hold a similar one training programme later this year.