Promoting Statistical Literacy: A South African perspective

Proceedings of the sixth international conference on teaching statistics, Developing a statistically literate society
Lehohla, P.
Phillips, B.
International Statistical Institute

South African society emerges from a political legacy that strove to create a dysfunctional society by implementing an official policy of racial discrimination, the effects of which can be observed in education, wealth distribution, employment, and settlement patterns amongst others. Therefore the challenge of statistical literacy is not only improving levels of competency in economics, science and technology, but also to address basic literacy and numeracy. An impressive budget allocation to education in recent times has helped primary education, but less for senior school where drop-out rates are high. An even much bigger challenge is adult illiteracy. In his address to the nation, the President emphasised the need for economic literacy in South Africa. The basic ingredient for this is statistical literacy; thus enhancing knowledge of mathematics and statistics can begin to address deficiencies in economic literacy. While there are programs for training statisticians, this paper confines itself largely to the broad based statistics awareness raising programmes.

The CAUSE Research Group is supported in part by a member initiative grant from the American Statistical Association’s Section on Statistics and Data Science Education