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Statistics training faces challenges

Update: November, 14/2013 - 09:39
A survey conducted by the university between 2001-12 showed more than 80 per cent of graduates had jobs that weren't related to their degree.— File Photo

HA NOI (VNS)  — Domestic and international experts agreed the importance of statistical information and data has not been realised in Viet Nam, compared with other countries.

The conference, held in Ha Noi yesterday, aimed to discuss statistical training in universities, with experts identifying major skill shortages in statistical capabilities and human resources.

There are now only four universities offering statistics training in the country. The National Economics University, renowned as the country's top statistics training institution, revealed that the number of students specialised in statistics was decreasing each year.

"Only a few are able to find jobs suited to their qualifications," associate professor Bui Duc Trieu told the conference.

A survey conducted by the university between 2001-12 showed more than 80 per cent of graduates had jobs that weren't related to their degree.

Moreover, said Trieu, the curriculum on statistics placed too much emphasis on theory and ignored practical skills, leading to the drop in student enrolments.

Additionally, the fewer students enrolled in the field was having a negative impact on the quality and quantity of topical lecturers.

Trieu proposed universities with statistics faculties to create curriculums with a greater emphasis on practical skills and knowledge; including being equipped with foreign language skills, and computer and software skills to make them valuable to employers.

The associate professor also urged for more universities to cooperate with enterprise to train students to ensure higher graduate employment.

Short-term training courses in the field should be opened to improve statistical workers' qualifications, he added.

Arthur Erken, a United Nations Population Fund representative in Viet Nam, said:

"Improving statistics capacity is important not only when it comes to planning, monitoring and evaluation of our development policies and programmes, but it is also important for the improvement of the quality of statistical data in general."

Erken called for concerted efforts and effective partnerships between ministries and agencies to raise awareness of the importance of statistics in Viet Nam.

The Philippines National Statistical Co-ordination Board's Secretary General Jose Ramon G. Albert suggested the use of commercial software in statistics curriculums and statistical knowledge taught in high schools.

These would help address the shortage, he said.

Conferences for statistical students and lecturers should be organised to learn from experiences, he added. — VNS

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