Wins for Finland in the International Statistical Literacy Competition

Finnish school students were triumphant in the International Statistical Literacy Competition for young people, which was held in connection with the session of the International Statistical Institute in Durban, South Africa, on 20 August. Justus Mutanen, from Lyseonpuisto Upper Secondary School, Rovaniemi, was declared individual champion in the 17 to 18 age category, and the joint Finnish-Zambian team was an overwhelming winner of the team competition. The International Statistical Literacy Competition was held for the first time this year. The aim of the competition is to improve the abilities of 10 to 18-year-old students in describing their environment with the help of statistics and in using statistics as a tool for making sense of their daily life.

Justus, who passed his matriculation examination last spring, is now an army conscript in Rovaniemi, but his future interests include statistics, mathematics, biosciences and data processing.

"Once I've done my stint in the army, I'll begin studies in biochemistry at the University of Helsinki," says Justus, who is very pleased about his win. He gives acknowledgement to the support of his teacher, Raimo Huhtala, who accompanied him on the trip to share the tense atmosphere of the competition and has both motivated him in studies and encouraged him to participate in various competitions. This July, Justus participated in the International Biology Olympiad in Japan, where he won a bronze medal.

Pictured from left to right: Juana Sanchez, ISLP Director, Competition winner Justus Mutanen, Lyseonpuisto Upper Secondary School, Rovaniemi, and Pali Lehohla, Statistician-General, Statistics South Africa.

National champions faced each other in the final

The Competition is open to all countries of the world. More than 20 countries participated in the qualifying national competitions. The Durban final had 45 students from 16 countries. The qualifying round in Finland was organised by Statistics Finland and MAOL, the Finnish Association of Teachers of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Informatics.

Finland was represented in Durban by four students: in addition to Justus Mutanen, the team included Miina Virtanen from Helsinki (age category 12 to 14), Kaisa-Mari Vuoti from Kempele (age category 15 to 16) and Elmo Pikkupeura from Kerava (age category 17 to 18), accompanied by their teachers. The team's participation in the final was made possible by sponsorship from the Finnish Board of Education, Taloudellinen tiedotustoimisto TAT, Numerola Ltd., Municipality of Kempele, City of Rovaniemi, Lions Club Helsinki/Kamppi and Lions Club Kerava.

Future of the Competition now has to be decided

The Competition was organised by the International Association of Statistical Education (IASE), which promotes the teaching of statistics and statistical literacy, and operates under the auspices of the International Statistical Institute (ISI). It was part of the International Statistical Literacy Project (ISLP). This was the very first Competition and continuation to it will now depend on a separate assessment of gained experiences.

"Competitions like this bring nice variety to routine teaching, and they've also generated good teaching material for schools," says Raimo Huhtala, who is also an active member of MAOL. He hopes that the co-operation between the different parties that has got to a good start at least nationally could be continued in future years.

The students who participated in the Competition returned to Finland late on Monday, 24 August.

Further information:

  • About the Competition: Minna Korhonen, Planner, Statistics Finland,+358 9 1734 2627
  • Justus Mutanen, Competition winner, +358 40 845 3190
  • Raimo Huhtala, Lyseonpuisto Upper Secondary School, +358 40 526 8134
  • Irma Iho, MAOL, +358 50 302 1589


Last updated 27.8.2009