The Virtual Statistical System as a Knowledge Organising Tool in a National Statistical Office
Grace Bediako
Ghana Statistical Service, Accra, Ghana

The need for sustained capacity building, with continuous access to relevant reference materials has been of great concern to many developing country statistical offices, especially in Africa. As many of these countries grapple with retaining qualified staff and maintaining the quality of its products and services, diverse resource materials are required to inform and enhance staff knowledge on statistical developments around the world. The VSS is such a knowledge base. It contains thousands of documents expressly designed for readers who want to be informed on statistics of a wide range of fields of official statistics.

The VSS is a library of statistical methods, practices, classifications, etc., covering about 130 topics, with hundreds of links to other sites with additional information. It also has various interactive functions – for posting questions or comments; and even creating own-knowledge base using the VSS wiki. An opportunity for exchange of information is presented through the Discussion Groups. The VSS Modules for the Strengthening of Statistics give access to at least 10 e-Learning courses with a total of about 200 lessons. With the VSS many NSOs have a much awaited tool to meet both training and reference requirements of their offices.

The paper explains the approach Ghana is using to incorporate this tool in its training strategy, not only for the national statistical office, but also for the national statistical system. It describes in detail specific activities associated with the deployment of this tool for conducting internal VSS training as well as staff participation in the external VSS e-Learning courses; with the relevant programmed assessments and World Bank certification following the required examinations. The paper also reports on experiences in the implementation of the programme, including the VSS discussion groups and the use of VSS Wiki.

Keywords: Virtual statistical system; Knowledge sharing, national practices; Training, eLearning courses; Statistical tools, reference materials

Biography: Ms Grace Bediako is the Government Statistician of Ghana. She holds a doctorate degree in Demography, from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA. Prior to joining the Ghana Statistical Service in 2004, she was Chief of Demographic Statistics Section, United Nations Statistics Division. She served in various capacities at the United Nations Statistics Division, where she worked for 13 years.