Paper by Archita Misra (PARIS21): “The COVID-19 crisis presents a monumental opportunity to engender a widespread data culture in our societies. Since early 2020, the emergence of popular data sites like Worldometer2 have promoted interest and attention in data-driven tracking of the pandemic. “R values”, “flattening the curve” and “exponential increase” have seeped into everyday lexicon. Social media and news outlets have filled the public consciousness with trends, rankings and graphs throughout multiple waves of COVID-19.
Yet, the crisis also reveals a critical lack of data literacy amongst citizens in many parts of the world. The lack of a data literate culture predates the pandemic. The supply of statistics and information has significantly outpaced the ability of lay citizens to make informed choices about their lives in the digital data age.
Today’s fragmented datafied information landscape is also susceptible to the pitfalls of misinformation, post-truth politics and societal polarisation – all of which demand a critical thinking lens towards data. There is an urgent need to develop data literacy at the level of citizens, organisations and society – such that all actors are empowered to navigate the complexity of modern data ecosystems.
The paper identifies three key take-aways. It is crucial to
- forge a common language around data literacy
- adopt a demand-driven approach and participatory approach to doing data literacy
- move from ad-hoc programming towards sustained policy, investment and impact…(More)”.