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Data To The People: a manifesto

We live in a time when data is being produced faster than ever. We are increasingly reliant on the use of data to inform everything we do, with global agreement that the increasing use of data to inform government policy, business strategy and operations is not only the smart thing to do, but a necessity if we are to have any chance of success.

However, there is a growing divide between those who have and have not… data literacy that is. 

As it was before the Age of Enlightenment, when literacy was associated with power and wealth, we are now seeing data literacy as a sparsely held skill-set which is quickly becoming a key determinant of success or otherwise.

The few who have pursued careers and further education in data science and data analytics are in high demand, with Universities and post-secondary education providers now rushing to create new courses to feed the talent pipeline.

But what about those who are already in the workforce? What about those who have passed the point of no return, those who have left formal education settings and are now drifting aimlessly amidst the wash of this data tsunami?

What about those at primary and secondary school who continue to be taught basic literacy and numeracy, with little thought to the digital world they will inherit – and the universal language of this new world; data.

As crucial as it is that we develop literacy and numeracy skills for our social, career and economic success, so too shall it become critical to develop data literacy skills if we are to succeed in this increasingly knowledge-based economy.

We need programs that build and nurture lifelong data literacy. 

We need to ignite and fuel the fire of data literacy in children and adolescents. We need to support and encourage the existing workforce and older generations to engage with data literacy programs for their own betterment.

We need to build and nurture lifelong data literacy if we are to thrive.


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