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YANGON, Myanmar - “As one of the contestants, I am excited to participate in the competition. Whatever ‘WIN’ or ‘LOSE’, this competition will give us an opportunity to learn why statistics is important for the country and how we can create our future using statistics in the country development process.” said Ma Swan Yi Thar, first year student of Meiktilar University of Economics.

Marking the World Statistics Day, top statistics students from Meiktilar University of Economics, Monywa University of Economics, and Yangon University of Economics met in a contest of minds on Friday 19 October. The event was set up as a quiz whereby the three universities competed against each other for the winning title. The idea of the competition was to promote the use of statistics among university students. 

The panel of judges featured director generals from the Central Statistical Organization and Department of Population, as well as senior technical staff from the World Bank and UNFPA. 


Without reliable data and statistics, no evidence-based planning

Professor Dr. Tin Win congratulated the contestants of Yangon University of Economics, the winner of the statistics quiz competition.

Dr. Wah Wah Maung, Director General (DG) of Central Statistical Organization said: “Policy makers, planners, private sectors, academic institutions, researchers are the users of the statistics. Based on these needs, we need to produce the statistics timely and reliably.”  Conscious that building a robust statistical system is a long-term process, she was optimistic, referring to the support from within as well as from development partners and other types of organizations, which is coordinated and promoted through the Statistics Sector Coordination Group.  The DG said that this has been fundamental change for the country”, emphasizing that without having reliable data and statistics, there would be no evidence-based planning, which in turn can lead to wrong decision making: “That is why reliable data and accuracy of the data are very important for all of us”, she said.

 “As data and information is the basis for the development of the country, we really want the students to know more about the importance of statistics subjects. This competition will help to promote the use of statistics among the participants”, Professor Dr. Tin Win, Rector of Yangon University of Economics said.


“I can’t imagine the world without data”

Ma Swan Yi Thar said, “I have learnt about our country’s data on maternal mortality through thematic reports while preparating for the competition. I was surprised to see that our country’s maternal mortality rate is quite high. Thanks to data, we can plan what needs to be done, like awareness raising to the public and improving health infrastructure. I can’t imagine the world without data. The competition has helped me to develop statistics theory concepts for future academic years. We have got to understand the value of team work. We have built the confidence in ourselves. For young people like us in Myanmar, what could be more useful than that?” 

“This contest gives us an opportunity to promote the importance of the statistics among young people in our country” says Ma Swan Yi Thar, first year student of Meiktilar University of Economics.

The statistical competition was a joint effort between UNFPA, the Department of Population, the Central Statistical Organization, the three economics universities in Myanmar, and the World Bank. Topics included basic statistics, mortality, maternal mortality, population dynamics and projections, fertility, migration, and urbanization.

The World Statistics Day is commemorated on the 20th of October and the day was first declared by the United Nations Statistical Commission in 2010. Worldwide, the day is celebrated every 5 years, while at the national level, countries adopt their own approach. This was the second time for Myanmar.