University students taking population studies courses at the University of West Indies (UWI), Mona, Jamaica campus can soon look forward to a new online tool to train them in how to prepare demographic projections.
In March 2011, faculty members from UWI’s Department of Sociology, Psychology and Social Work approached the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) seeking innovative ways to improve their classroom instruction methods. UWI knew that PIOJ was the implementing agency behind the national JamStats socio-economic database. UWI had also been previously introduced by PIOJ partner UNICEF Jamaica to CME Info 1 (Child Mortality Estimates Info), a comprehensive data portal designed to portray international trend estimates for child mortality.
Explains Sharon Priestley, Lecturer in Demography and Statistics, UWI, “Currently in Jamaica, child mortality data from the vital registration system and from surveys such as UNICEF’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey are collated by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica to monitor progress towards meeting the MDGs. As these estimates represent different data points, we face challenges in the choice of estimates to best represent the true Jamaican situation, given the varying methodological bases upon which these estimates are made.”
According to Julian Devonish, Lecturer in Sociology, UWI, the Department of Sociology, Psychology and Social Work plans to incorporate the use of CMEInfo at both the undergraduate and post-graduate levels to enhance demographic training.
“We want to expose students to practical exercises in weighing the factors that must be taken into account in rationalizing mortality estimates – an essential skill required for demographic decision making,” explains Devonish. “As we train the next generation of demographers, we believe that giving them
In addition to benefiting university students, the introduction of CME Info at UWI is expected to yield other tangible dividends as well. According to Donneth Edmondson, Director, JamStats Secretariat, PIOJ, “We anticipate that this collaboration will foster improved communication between the official statistics system in Jamaica and the UN, facilitating timely updates of data points as soon as data from new sources become available. Additionally, work done by UWI faculty will also help to refine the mortality estimates for Jamaica.”
The introduction of CME Info at the university level looks to strengthen actors at multiple levels in Jamaica - students, faculty, the national statistics system, and the UN Country Team - in different yet mutually reinforcing ways, to the betterment of the country’s statistical reporting system.
Data making a difference.
For more information, please contact Donneth Edmondson, Director, JamStats Secretariat, Planning Institute of Jamaica, at Donneth_Edmondson@PIOJ.gov.jm.
1 CME Info is an initiative of the Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation. For more information, please visit http://www.devinfo.org/devinfo_in_action/child_mortality_estimates.html.