Egyptians from different backgrounds, including journalism, political science, and developmental work all gathered at Daftar Ahwal, a Data Research Institute, for one shared purpose: taking a dip into the data field. The training started on September 13 and continued for three non-consecutive days.
“We suffer from scarcity in data in Egypt, especially in the research field. The aim of this training is to create cadres that care for data science through making the knowledge available, and through building databases,” said Asmaa Elgredly , who manages the social indicators program at Daftar Ahwal and the Data Management and Analysis School
Amr Eleraqi, the founder of InfoTimes who gave the data training at Daftar Ahwal, said, “The existence of a data school is a very positive thing, and for the school to emerge from a research entity interested in social indicators confirms the fact that society is moving towards realizing the importance of data”.
Eleraqi further commented saying that the age group of the trainings reflects how the young generation is interested in data.
Each year Daftar Ahwal targets a different sector, said Elgredly. Last year, it was academics. This year the training was mainly targeted at students, fresh graduates, and young journalists.
The sessions started by asking the trainees to attempt answering the basic question: “What is data?”. They learnt about traditional and nontraditional methods of data sourcing, and how to pull a sample. The training also included data scraping and data cleaning, as well as different Microsoft Excel formulas.
This is the second round for the school. Daftar Ahwal plans that next year the training switches to become a diploma with more and advanced workshops.
This practical part of where to get the data from, how to look at it, and how to use it differently is missing from universities’ curricula, explained Elgredly.
The the Data Management and Analysis School fills in this gap, and has become a launching point for the trainees, she believes.
“I love data and I want to work in this field”, said Marwa Ali, one of the trainees. She said that the training helped her I learn how to use a lot of tools that would help her with her current projects.