The Central Statistics Office collects, analyses and publishes official statistics for Ireland. It produces statistics on the economic and social conditions in the state. Its main role is to provide statistics for the Government to help it to make informed policy decisions for the benefit of citizens.
The Central Statistics Office is also responsible for making sure that official statistics produced by other bodies such as government departments and the central bank meet the national and international standards applied to official statistics. The CSO has a responsibility to publicise and promote the use of official statistics. All releases are published to www.cso.ie at 11.00am as well as being tweeted from @csoireland which has almost 12,000 followers. As part of its role in promoting awareness and use of official statistics, the CSO is partners in a number of activities and initiatives for students such as Census at School, the John Hooper poster competition and APPS4Gaps which is an app developing and building competition. We also use Events like World Statistics Day which this year is on the 20th of October are also used to promote official statistics and their broader use. The winners of the 2015 John Hooper senior competition recently won an international prize with their entry. At the 60th International Statistics Institute World Statistics Congress 2015, Rachael Ni Dhonnachadha and Shannon Ni Dhonnachadha two Irish maths students were judged thebest in the world in a poster competition run by the International Association of Statistical Education (IASE) in collaboration with the International Statistical Literacy Project (ISLP).
The poster competition attracted over 8,145 entries from across six continents, with strong competition coming from countries including Japan, Russia, Korea, Mexico, Australia, Kenya, India, many other EU member states and South Africa. Rachael Ni Dhonnachadha and Shannon Ni Dhonnachadha, from St. Vincent’s Secondary School, Dundalk, were placed first in the world, in the senior category, with their poster “Road to Rio – Protecting Our Olympic Boxing Future”. The junior John Hooper competition winners, Aoife Conroy, Jessica Barbulescu and Lauren Murphy, from Loreto Secondary School in Balbriggan did Ireland proud coming third place in the world, in the junior category, of the same competition, with their poster “The effects of meditation and positivity training on school community members”
The Royal Statistical Society Centre for Statistical Education (RSSCSE) started the CensusAtSchool project in 2000 in conjunction with the National Statistics Office in the UK. The project, originally a one-off, was linked to the UK population census of 2001. It has now developed into a dynamic, ongoing and exciting initiative running in a number of countries. It aims to:
• Involve students in collecting data about themselves and improve understanding of a data gathering process, its purpose and benefits to society;
• Foster a positive attitude to statistics through using real data that is of interest to students;
• Enhance the process of statistical enquiry across the curriculum;
• Encourage effective Information and Communication Technology (ICT) teaching and learning, including the use of the Internet;
• Provide access to large and meaningful data sets;
• Make comparisons between the student responses in different countries. Since 2000 several other countries have embraced the project with necessary adjustments to reflect local culture and traditions.
These countries include; Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada and now, in 2009, Ireland. The worldwide database, which contains well over a million responses, can be sampled over the Internet for use in creating teaching and learning materials. It enables teachers and pupils across the world to enhance their data handling skills leading to improved statistical literacy and thinking. The involvement of different countries vastly increases the potential for exchange of information between school-aged children and is a unique way to assess global, social and other changes. It has the added bonus of providing ICT opportunities, and is motivational for both teachers and children alike. The website at www.censusatschool.comprovides access to all resources and each country’s own CensusAtSchool website. Do take a look and get involved. The project is totally free to all Irish Schools and offers a unique and different experience for your pupils. Ireland became involved in CensusAtSchool in 2009 when the NCCA, the CSO and the NCTE collaborated to set-up the Irish website, www.censusatschool.ie.