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‘Building trust in Statistics’

The induction of the first President of the Institute of Applied Statistics, Sri Lanka that was incorporated recently by an act of Parliament was held at the auditorium of the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute with Prof. Tissa Vitarana gracing the occasion as the chief guest.

Palitha Sarukkali, who was inducted as the first president of the Institute has an experience of over 37 years as a statistician in the public sector institutes.

The induction was administered by a past President of the former Association of Applied Statistics, Sri Lanka, Prof. S. Samita which was incorporated as the Institute of Applied Statistics on September 20th last year.


Palitha Sarukkali was inducted as the first President of the Institute of Applied Statistics, Sri Lanka by Prof.S.Samita

Sarukkali addressing the forum said "It is now evident that statistics is an indispensable discipline. It has been extended to various other disciplines to perform statistical experiments with the aim of drawing valid conclusions.

Although this increased its importance and usage, most of these are done by the experts in respective disciplines who are non statisticians."

He also revealed that there is a distrust of statistics grown among the general public, which can be attributed to the lack of knowledge, limitations of its uses, and also to the wrong interpretations of the results, but not due to statistical sciences.

"People have developed distrust in statistics because it is easy to deceive the people using statistics as they cannot understand how statistics works.

Therefore it is our duty to develop 'Statistical thinking' among the masses, starting from schools, to overcome this situation"

He proposed that the theme of the Institute of Applied Statistics for the year 2012 would be 'Statistical thinking for building trust in Statistics'

"Thus we will devote our time this year to consider several measures to be taken to develop trust in Statistics among the masses.

This cannot be completed within one year. We have already taken steps to introduce a 'National Statistics Olympiad' competition among schools during this year.

Thus we expect school children to be more familiar with simple statistical techniques with the introduction of this competition", Sarukkali said.

He further said, "My dear friends, our main objective should be to make the statistics profession stand strong in this country. We all must be committed to achieve this objective. I believe that together we can work to make a better, stronger and more effective profession".

He concluded with a quote from H. G. Wells, British writer best known for his science fiction novels.

"Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write"

Speaking as the Chief Guest, Prof. Tissa Vitarana stressed the importance of statistics in arriving at vital decisions in planning and other fields where decisions have to be taken.

He said he wish and believe that the Institute of Applied Statistics will grow strong in the future and will be very much helpful for the development of the country.

Vote of thanks was delivered by Vice President of IASSL, Dr. B. L. Peiris.

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