A competition designed to inspire future data specialists has launched for young people between the ages of 9 and 15, developing their skills in such disciplines as numeracy, literacy and science to prepare them for the next stage in their education.
Created by UK non-profit Primary Engineer, the STATWARS contest has received funding from performance analytics database Exasol. By embedding data into young people’s education in a way that complements the national curriculum, it is hoped that the project will drive a better understanding of data and its value and application in both business and life today.
A recent study by Exasol raised concerns about how effectively education prepares students to meet the demands of an increasingly data-driven world. Researchers found that 16-to-21-year-olds don’t feel their schooling adequately equips them with the skills required to succeed in the future workplace, despite almost half (49%) agreeing that data will eventually have a pivotal role in their career. In light of this, STATWARS intends to drive interest and engagement for all things data among today’s youth.
“In today’s increasingly data-driven world, if we do not have the right people with the right skills who know how to process, interpret and make data actionable, we are in danger of missing out on new ways to solve data challenges and push the boundaries as we know it” – Peter Jackson, Exasol
Peter Jackson, chief data and analytics officer at Exasol, commented: “We are thrilled to be partnering with STATWARS to support its goal in inspiring and encouraging more young people to get excited by data.
“In today’s increasingly data-driven world, if we do not have the right people with the right skills who know how to process, interpret and make data actionable, we are in danger of missing out on new ways to solve data challenges and push the boundaries as we know it,” added Jackson. “That’s why it was important for us to get involved in the STATWARS competition. The next generation of young prodigies will be our future data champions, playing a significant role in helping to solve some of the world’s most important challenges.”
The free competition will run throughout the 2021-22 school year, encompassing two data projects: STATWARS: Climate Change Challenge, which empowers and educates young people to tackle climate change using data; and STATWARS Film & TV, which encourages participants to engage with data through the development of a film or TV series.
Both projects provide two entry points designed to drive excitement around analysing, interrogating and presenting data. It does this via the real-world application of maths skills and knowledge, allowing pupils to follow simple or complex lines of enquiry, conjecture relationships and generalisations to develop coherent, justified arguments based on thorough analysis.
“That was the starting point for the competition which gives young people the opportunity to analyse their own carbon impact or find the next hit TV show” – Dr Susan Scurlock, Primary Engineer
Entry to the competition also grants teachers access to free classroom resources, including lesson plans, activity sheets and video tutorials, as well as live interviews with data experts and expert skills sessions.
“Data analysis is a crucial aspect to many things in everyday life – often in unexpected and surprising ways,” said Dr Susan Scurlock, chief executive at Primary Engineer. “That was the starting point for the competition which gives young people the opportunity to analyse their own carbon impact or find the next hit TV show. It encourages them to collect and unpick data then use it to form their outcome and explain their decision. Having Exasol as one of our national partners allows us to link today’s data analysts with tomorrow’s – helping them build their knowledge and find out how much fun data really is.”