Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of joining ICCSSA?
ICCSSA is the only legal association in South Africa professionalising statisticians in specialised fields of practice. ICCSSA ensure safe and responsible practice of statisticians. The use and interpretation of statistics are critical in today’s society. From working out the best deals in the supermarket to understanding trends and probabilities that affect decisions in business and government. The benefits of registering with ICCSSA include:
- Functioning in a working environment leaves one vulnerable unless, and until, statisticians are protected by their status as professionals
- Statisticians, like other professions, have to hold and abide to the set code of conduct. This ensures that members conduct themselves responsibly with integrity, accountability and excellence.
- Registering with ICCSSA as a professional body ensures statistical competence and commitment to professionalism.
- Statisticians have broad responsibilities and therefore it has been difficult for existing professional bodies e.g. SACNASP to control this
- A higher degree of recognition as a traditional profession would have benefit for statisticians in terms of greater influence, increased trust and recognition
- ICCSSA has the ability to recognise statistical education and training that meets expected standards
- ICCSSA identifies statisticians as having competence that employers value?
- Government and some private institutes will not consult and accept advice from anyone who is not professionally registered. These are new acts which are presently in the process to be implemented through the revision of the Statistics Act. Florence Nightingale, a passionate statistician, social reformer and nurse once wrote imploringly to a British government official stating: “What we want is not so much (at least not at present) an accumulation of facts, so as to teach men who govern the country about the use of statistical facts” (Kopf, 1916).
- The intention of the revision of the Statistics Act is to ensure that all practicing statisticians are registered with a professional body.
What is the purpose of ICCSSA?
The purpose of ICCSSA is
- To promote the status of professional Statisticians in the South African private and public sectors.
- To provide a forum for the exchange of Statistical knowledge among members, for the benefit of South Africa.
- To promote publications and other works pertaining to practicing Statisticians and to recognise merit in such publications and works.
- To lead, direct and influence policy in Statistics for the public, private and educational sectors.
- To promote and advance education and training of Statistical Sciences in South Africa.
- Through effective financial management, ensure that maximum feasible short, medium and long-term advantages accrue to the Members of the Institute in the form of its stability, facilities, benefits and activities.
- To preserve the rights of statisticians of Professional status in the publications of statistics (e.g. data, forecasts, estimations, confidence intervals) and statistical models utilised in the derivation of statistics in concordance with the Act No. 27 of 2003 of SACNASP.
- To forge alliances with similar International entities.
Does ICCSSA issue a letter for the purpose of a Critical Skills Visa?
Unfortunately at this stage Mathematical Sciences (including Statistics and Operations Research) is not on the critical skills list published by the Department of Home Affairs (Download Government Gazette, 3 June 2014) and as such, a critical skills visa would not be issued by the Department of Home Affairs. In addition, ICCSSA is not a statutory regulating body and hence if a candidate would like to apply for a critical skills visa (for a field on the critical skills list) then registration must be done with a statutory regulating body such as SACNASP and obtain a letter from the body on the verified skills.
What is professionalism?
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the US Supreme Court defines professionalism as: “… a commitment to develop one’s skills to the fullest and to apply them responsibly to the problems at hand. Professionalism requires the adherence to the highest ethical standards of conduct and a willingness to subordinate narrow self-interest in pursuit of the more fundamental goal of public service”. It demands from professionals to “doing things right and doing the right things”.
What makes you a "complete" professional?
The most essential characteristics to becoming a “complete” professional is when a person
- Holds appropriate qualifications
- Has relevant and specific work experience
- Undertakes continuous professional development (CPD)
- Abides by a Code of Conduct by his/her professional body
These are core for ICCSSA’s functioning and contained within the Bye-Laws of ICCSSA.
Is ICCSSA a recognised statistical body in South Africa?
ICCSSA has been recognised since 19 February 2014 by the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) as the statistical professional body in SA for the purposes of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Act, Act 67 of 2008 and SAQA has approved the registration of the Chartered Statistician (ChM) and Certificated Statistician (CeM) for professional designations on the NQF. Recently, ICCSSA received a clean audit from SAQA but were asked to develop the CPD programme before the next audit is conducted.
Why are there two statistical organisations in South Africa i.e. SASA and ICCSSA?
SASA since the 1950s has created a valuable platform for the statistical community in SA through its many flagships such as the SASA annual conference, the SA Statistical Journal, the SASA Newsletters, the Education Committee awarding many bursaries and scholarships over the years in statistics, the SASA chapters encouraging growth in the statistical community in various provinces, etc. The statistical fraternity felt there was a need for a professional body to create rigor in statistics and to better promote statistics in industry. When ICCSSA was first formed it was an associated body within SASA. The ICCSSA board has taken the decision to operate independently from SASA and not to be an associated body of SASA, but to form its own constitution and Bye-Laws. This was primarily because the operations of SASA and ICCSSA are very different and hence ICCSSA proposed at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of SASA in 2015 that ICCSSA will operate independently of SASA but will continue supporting each other towards building the statistical fraternity. This was accepted by SASA and since then ICCSSA board has been working closely with SASA on many joint activities. ICCSSA further encourages all ICCSSA members to belong to SASA since SASA does provide a number of valuable events and activities throughout the year for which ICCSSA members can benefit since these events and activities will contribute towards ICCSSA’s Continuous Professional Development (CPD) program.
Why register with ICCSSA when currently SACNASP exists with Statistical Sciences as a field of practice?
Although SACNASP does registers scientists practicing in statistics, the challenge of registering with SACNASP is that SACNASP houses all scientists and hence with statistics being one of the fields of practice cannot differentiate between specialisations within statistics. Industry requires a statistician in a certain field of practice which is closer to what the statistician is practicing in, for e.g. Technometrics, Chemometrics or Econometrics, which is indistinguishable within SACNASP’s structure. Also there is a need to view and recognise the full value chain related to the statistical profession, for e.g. the design of questionnaires, surveys, data collection, data gathering, data capturing, data analysis, interpretation of results, decision making and communication of results, which will further complicate SACNASP’s ability to distinguish and recognise these competencies or essential support functions to a statistician. ICCSSA has the ability to distinguish and register various actors within the statistical value chain and is currently designing and formulating all related fields to be incorporated into the Bye-Laws of ICCSSA.