‘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
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
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
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
"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",
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.