The Federal Government has been urged to include statistics in secondary school curriculum considering its relevance in economic planning and national development.
Prof. Sidney Onyeagu, President Nigerian Statistical Association (NSA), made the appeal in Lokoja at the 43rd Annual Conference of the association.
Onyeagu, a Professor of Statistics at the University of Nigeria (UNN) Nsukka, said including statistics in school curriculum was critical to address the issue of insufficient number of statisticians in the country.
“We have written a book for Junior Secondary School (JSS), but the Ministry of Education is saying that the students have lots of subjects in areas of mathematical sciences.
“If they allow students to be taught statistics in secondary schools, it will get them interested in studying statistics in the university. Mathematics is taught but people don’t like studying it.
“Statistics is applied mathematics and that is what is used in gathering data for national planning and development and writing projects, even those in humanity uses it.
“We are not many and people don’t study statistics, most students do not know what statistics is and without statistics, national planning will be difficult,” he said.
Onyeagu explained that because statisticians were not many in the country, the association picked and trained people, most times for a period of two weeks.
This ad hoc arrangement, he said, was not enough to make an efficient statistician because not much could be taught within that period.
He added that it was necessary for trained statisticians to be in positions of collating data to ensure better economy and national development.
He, however, identified finance as the association’s major challenge, saying that most of its members had not been paying subvention to it.
“For now, it is only the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that gives us subvention, other corporate bodies that belong to the association had stopped paying subvention.
“Some of them like the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) and some others have left us, efforts are however, being made to bring them back to our fold.
“We are going to pay courtesy call on the NPA management and others, to make sure they re-join us, because statistic is what we use for development and economic planning,” he said.