African Maths Initiative

Sharing Initiatives in Maths Education

Highlights From ISI 61st World Statistics Congress, Morocco.

 

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Analysis of climatic data using R-Instat.

Teaching of statistics in universities is too theoretical. This is according to James Musyoka, a statistics lecturer at Maseno University, Kenya, who see that’s students in Kenya are not taught in light of real world problems and there is little or no use of data. At the 61st ISI World Statistics Congress in Marrakech, Morocco he highlighted the lessons he has learnt from making changes in his own teaching, using electronic resources and the new R-Instat statistics software to bring practical skills and real-world data to the forefront of his teaching. Also speaking at ISI, Zach Mbasu, described his experience with high school students in Kenyan and Tanzanian schools and noted that there is limited content application and innovations in teaching and the current mode of delivery leaves students with little or no development of computer skills.

What can be done?

Students

There is a need to engage lecturers so that they improve their teaching. Lecturers are the most effective persons who can implement best practices that will provide relevance for all students.

There is an urgent need to develop and promote the awareness of, innovative open educational resources such as CAST, eSMS and R-Instat that can be used freely in statistics training. R-Instat is now freely available and it is suitable for statistics teaching.

In relation to this, Andrée Mentho Nenkam (ICRISAT) and Roger Stern (University of Reading) noted that R-Instat could help improve agricultural statistics education and help agricultural researchers do better research in Africa and beyond. This will help curb the agricultural data analysis challenge Africa due to lack of skills and statistical software.

There is also a need to engage lecturers so that they improve their teaching. Lecturers are the most effective persons who can implement best practices that will provide relevance for all students.

There is also a need to revise existing curriculums to bridge the gap between industry demands and graduates’ skills. This curriculum needs to align with the direction in which the world and Africa are going. If we ignore this, young people will have irrelevant qualifications or zero skills that the continent will be unable to benefit from.

Collaborations with likeminded partners are needed to build and increase capacity. There is a need to create interdependencies between organisations. Different sectors should be open minded about working together, not afraid to take risks to collaborate in new ways, and to ensure the lessons of these partnership models are shared widely.

Statistics, Climate and Software

Farmers

Having a tailored climatic menu provides a great opportunity to not only students but also to farmer support organisations, especially in Africa, where agriculture is the backbone of many nations’ economies.

Statistics, Climate and Software also featured greatly during the presentations at ISI. In their presentations, Francis Torgbor from African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Biriwa, Ghana and David Stern from University of Reading, Reading, UK noted that open source software such as R-Instat could be a game changer not only in Education but other sectors such as Agriculture. Having a tailored climatic menu provides a great opportunity to not only students but also to farmer support organisations, especially in Africa, where agriculture is the backbone of many nations’ economies. Through data analysis using the software, it would be easier to provide farmers with access to accurate and location specific climate and weather information enabling them to make better farming decisions.

By doing, we would have played a big role in nurturing students who will later join national and global workforce as well as existing workforce in different fields that rely on the use of Statistics.

The following people were involved in this event

This is an event of the initiative

African Data Initiative

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