Gov’t eyes data science school as demand for data analytics peaks

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The national government is currently drafting plans for a “Data Science Institute”, according to National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) director-general Ernesto M. Pernia.

The plan on NEDA’s drawing board will get the help of Australia and the Carnegie Mellon University in Australia (CMU-A), Pernia said during the 2nd Business Intelligence and Data Analytics (BIDA) Short Course.

CMU-A is implementing the Australian-funded BIDA short course developed to meet the Philippine National Development Plan and provide government managers to build data analytics and business intelligence skills and capability.

At the event, Pernia called for a “suprastructure” that involves quality education for a Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) ecosystem.

“What I envision is for academics — scientists and engineers — build and work on the supply side of the STI ecosystem. But to make the ecosystem functional, there must be demand for what scientists and engineers produce — i.e., the demand on the side of the private sector — business people including industrialists, entrepreneurs, and capitalists,” Pernia added.

The government’s role is to provide for the academe the scholarships for graduate studies, funding for research and development, and ease of procurement of materials for research, Pernia said.

“We, in NEDA, recognize the importance of investing in knowledge capital that will enable us to make well-informed, evidence-based decisions, as we steer the country’s economy and provide high-level advice to policymakers in the legislative and executive branches of government,” Pernia continued.

“Given an innovative supply and demand sides or sectors, the STI ecosystem can become vibrant, mature, functional and self-sustaining,” Pernia said. “This suggests that there is a need for higher trust and respect between the academic and the business sectors, and among its members.”

In preparation for the displacements that may be caused by “the era of new globalization, characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity or VUCA, Pernia called for BIDA training available for workers adapt to changing times.

“With creative destruction, some individuals are likely to be worse off than others,” he said, telling participants of the BIDA course that “armed by your data analytics acumen and training, might unintentionally displace some people in the workplace who could only perform basic spreadsheet operations.”

However, he said, change is necessary although uncomfortable to many. “Change is inevitable and we have to adapt to change.”

The BIDA program is designed to help government officials develop a comprehensive analytics solution for their organizations and help government agencies use data and technology to deliver public service solutions.

The course covers data management, advanced visualization techniques, analytics and machine learning, business intelligence and project management.

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