Stressing computers in school education is a very good idea, but it is also important to teach students structured thinking in different disciplines, according to Pronab Sen, India's chief statistician. Sen, who is also the secretary to the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation, said, “What we really need to think about is how can we, at the school level, teach students structured thinking in different disciplines.”
According to him, “getting hold of a decent statistician to work either in academics or in the official statistical system is becoming close to impossible. And this is going to be worse.” Statistics has been largely impacted by the information technology especially at the data processing and dissemination level. “There used to be a time when the statistical system would get the best minds in the country. Today the situation is such that the need to have people who can access data and analyse is so high that the supply cannot match the demand,” he said.
At a seminar organised by the National Sample Survey Organisation, Sen said that introduction of computers at the school level is not enough as it only exposes the students to computers. “We need to have different software at different levels for different subjects. It is the ability to handle IT that will make the difference,” he said.
“It does not matter whether it is history, geography or sociology. The information age is going to force you to be able to think in a structured manner,” Sen said.