SAS And Statistical Training At Statistics SA: A Practical Tool In Government Statistics

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

Statistics South Africa is the official supplier of statistics for the South African government. It supplies various types of statistics to government departments, industry, financial houses as well as economic and developmental planners. Being an organisation where many subject experts are employed and where transfer of knowledge takes place, it is only natural to see that the quality of the organisation lies in its people and in the continual development of people's skills. SAS is the most widely used data management and statistical tool, especially in social and economic statistics. Training is provided as part of a well defined development plan that each employee has in terms of their position. Most of the training deals with data management and data manipulation as well as statistical analysis. It is intended that as people learn more that people will want to know more and the stage has been reached where features such as SQL and Macro Language amongst others are being trained. Training of Statistics can therefore take place with SAS being used as an analytical tool. Products such as SAS Analyst and Enterprise Guide allow the instructor to practically demonstrate the application of statistical techniques. Various different statistical procedures can be performed from simple descriptive statistics to complex inferential statistical procedures like data mining and time series analysis. Training of this nature goes hand in hand very effectively with the more theoretical type of statistical tuition that someone might receive elsewhere. However, if a trainee is able to see the link between the theoretical approach and the practical application thereof then everything becomes clearer, it stimulates the desire to learn more and everything falls into place. Skills development in South Africa is very important to the extent that legislation has enabled Statistics SA to be part of a Public Sector Education & Training Authority (PSETA). Through this Stats SA has proposed to create SAS learnerships, which would allow individuals to learn and apply knowledge gained by SAS in the workplace. Hence, this paper aims to show the value that the training and usage of SAS has to an organisation like Statistics SA and what new developments and initiatives can be pursued to further meet this aim.

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