Time Series: Academics bemoan dearth of experts in Nigerian universities

Some university professors have expressed concern over the dearth of experts in the area of time series analysis (a study of data recorded in time) in Nigerian universities.

In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the university lecturers said there was a need to encourage researchers/lecturers in the area of timely data records and applications.

The professors disclosed this on the sideline of a two-week training workshop on foundation postgraduate course in: “Time Series Analysis and Application” organized by the National Mathematical Centre (NMC) in Abuja.

Prof. Eleazar Nwogu, a resource person from the Department of Statistics, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, explained that Time Series Analysis is the study of data recorded in time.

“We look at data from birth, economy, sales and distribution, data from government budget, inflation, exchange rate, education, health, and other activities.

“For instance; if you want to plan for future education, you need data; if you want to plan for health, you need data. Over time if you look at the previous expenditure on health, you can now plan for the future,” Nwogu said.

He said effective planning and budgeting depended on sound data and its application.

“So, what we are doing in the time series is to provide a model or a basis for future planning,” Nwogu said.

Nwogu said that any budget that is not based on sound data and model is bound to fail hence the need for time series data for the economy, education, health, and others.

We look at data from birth, economy, sales and distribution, data from government budget, inflation, exchange rate, education, health, and other activities.

Prof. Adebowale Adejumo, of the Department of Statistics, University of Ilorin said that the course was very useful in every field of life.

Adejumo said that Nigeria was lagging behind in the area of data collection, saying that time series data were data collected timely.

“In Nigeria, if we have been monitoring most of the activities, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

“If Nigeria can embrace statistics, especially this area of time series, if we can monitor most of our activities for some time, we can use that to project into the future,” he said.

Adejumo however urged the participants to extend the training to their various zones so as to create more awareness on time series analysis and application to promote proper planning and development.

Dr Adekunle Adebayo, of Lagos State University of Education, Oto-Ijanikin said the training would make a substantial impact on knowledge and skills of postgraduate students to contribute to the growth of the country.

Adebayo thanked the leadership of NMC and appealed that the training should be sustained.

He also called on the government to ensure adequate funding of the Centre given the dearth of experts in time series analysis in Nigerian universities.

Dr Awogbemi Adeyeye, the Course Coordinator, Statistics Department/Programme, NMC, said the workshop was organised to address the dearth of human resources in “Time Series Analysis” in the tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

Adeyeye said the objective of the workshop was to train and develop high level personnel in time series analysis at the tertiary levels of the educational system.

“It is to train participants to be able to communicate meaningfully and productively with practitioners and professionals on time series issues,” he added.

Adeyeye said that the Centre got about 460 applications but could only shortlist 25 persons due to paucity of fund ssaying that the training was free.

Earlier, Prof. Promise Mebine, the Director/Chief Executive, NMC, urged the participants to put what they have learnt into use for the betterment of the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the participants were selected from the six geopolitical zones of the country. 

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