Africa Needs Data Science For Development – West Africa Young Statisticians President

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By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan

The President of West African Young Statisticians (WAYSA), Mr. Oyebimpe Adeniji on Sunday advocated inclusion of data science in  school curriculum across the African continent.

Speaking at a four-day training and workshop organised by West African Young Statisticians Association (WAYSA) in collaboration with Statistical Modelling Group (SMG) of the department of Statistics, University of Ibadan, Mr Adeniji said many Africans have really not given much attention to this revolution in Science of data.

According to the WAYSA President, despite the importance of data science it was unfortunate that there is still  the low level in the use of big data handling techniques by Africans despite the fact that data is now the most valuable commodity.

The WAYSA President while speaking on the topic “Big data analytics and data visualization with JMP-SAS software emphasized “I am not sure if many of us here are aware of the trending belief in the developed world that “the sexiest job of the next decade is data science”.

“The reason is not farfetched from the fact that virtually every sector, if not all sectors in this modern age are driving by data. It is however, pitiably worrisome that the African continent at large has been lagging behind in catching up with this trend of big data handling techniques as many have really not given much attention to this revolution in the science of data even though data happens now to be the most valuable commodity.” he said.

The WAYSA President added, “much more, response of the African academia to developing a concise school-based curriculum for data science courses at our universities is alarming lackadaisical, as the little patches of data science education prevalent today in mainstream learning have been in the hands of seminar organizers, who more or less seek to get profit by offering these short courses to intending learners. “

“In 2016, a number of us, young Statisticians from West Africa region came together at the SADA 16 event in Cotonou, Republicbof Benin and reached a communique to form a regional powerhouse for the enhancing of sound statistical education with special attention to data analytics. This successfully gave birth to the West African Young Statisticians Association (WAYSA). And since then, we have been able to form alliances with some notable data analytics software producers in the world like SAS Inc”.

In his address at the training/workshop, Prof  Ismail Olanrewaju Shittu of the department of Statistics, University of Ibadan said data analysis is an essential element of any research. saying, “as we all know, data analysis is an essential element of any research.”

“It is the only tool that can help to make data speak. This important aspect of research has been made simpler by the use of computer with its relative advantages of speed, accuracy and its capacity to handle large volume of data. This has made it imperative to acquire necessary skills to handle data particularly high frequency data with specialized software”. he said.

Vice President of American Statistical Association, Professor Richard De Veaux in his remarks said  the workshop would be useful as stepping stone for participants in their day to day activities as Statisticians”.

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