Frequently Asked Questions

 
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Data literacy - what does that mean?

Data literacy includes the ability to critically collect, manage, evaluate and apply data.

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Who can sign?

Anyone who is or becomes aware of the fact that we as a society want and need to demand more data literacy and want the necessary political and financial foundation.


Since this appeal is not a formal political initiative or the like but a broad public appeal, there is no age limit for this appeal.

 

To sign the appeal, you do not have to be entitled to vote in Switzerland or have a permanent place of residence or place of work in Switzerland. We are grateful if a place of residence or work is also indicated with the signature.

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Why does this concern me personally?

This appeal is not about specialist data literacy in statistics or the coronavirus pandemic, nor is it a question of criticising any instances. It is about collectively realising how much our lives are being determined and controlled by more and more data. 

 

As data producers, we disclose every day data without knowing if, where and how it is used. As data consumers, we are all every day inundated with more and more data from all areas of expertise and life. It is essential that we keep and maintain the key competences of how we can (should) handle these data and statistics in a meaningful way – whether in our personal lives (for example with various health applications, with the use of social media) but also as a society. To do this, we need more data literacy than most of us have been given so far.


The appeal serves to ensure that, thanks to the political basis and co-financing with public money through the media and various education and training programmes, we can all develop a more conscious use of data in general, but also with sensitive personal data.

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Data literacy in kindergarten - how is this supposed to work?

The basic understanding that data are something valuable and worth protecting must and can be easily conveyed from an early age. Children are already coming into contact with digital media and need to develop this awareness. Children always ask “why”, and this is an attitude they must learn at an early age, also with regard to data and statistics. Why, for example, does this app need access to the pictures? Why is this app free? Why do these statistics seem strange to me? Why are these data used? Why are these statistics used? Why can I not trust the data source?

 

It is equally important to learn from an early age onwards how data can be ethically collected, shared, analysed, evaluated and communicated, allowing us as a society to use it for the benefit of all and to assess and improve projects and developments adequately. 


It is also essential to understand that data sometimes cannot provide us with answers to all questions or promote a distorted picture of reality. These basics can be taught in a playful and age-appropriate manner.

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Why are doctors & statisticians jointly launching an appeal to the public and politicians?

Historically, in the 19th and 20th centuries, doctors in various regions were politically very involved in the introduction of schools to improve literacy among the population. For decades, the medical profession has also been committed to the delivery of knowledge and training of patients (the foundation of various health leagues, etc.) and the strengthening of the patient autonomy with joint therapy decisions.


For their part, statisticians have pointed out since the beginning of the 20th century that a basic statistical understanding and knowledge of the handling of data are essential for the informed participation of empowered citizens in democratic societies. Digitisation has massively promoted the importance of the processing and use of data in recent decades, especially in the healthcare sector. Unfortunately, however, our social and individual understanding of data and our data literacy is still far behind these developments.

 

Today, however, just like reading and writing, well-founded social data literacy is crucial for the preservation of the fundamental values in our democratic society, such as freedom, equality, the right to participate and participation. With the launch of this appeal, doctors and statisticians exercise their social responsibility in this regard.

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What is the point of the appeal and which obligations arise from my signature?

On the one hand, the appeal is intended to raise broad awareness of the urgently needed improvements in our social data culture among our population. On the other hand, the appeal should serve to lay a meaningful foundation for a sustainable national data culture at the political level.


With your signature, you confirm that you support this appeal. Your name/first name, address and, at most, your profession/function will be listed and published accordingly. Your information will not be used for any other purpose. If you wish to support the appeal without your name being listed, please note this request accordingly. You will not have any further obligations arising from this appeal.


In a second step, interprofessional projects in the area of “data literacy” will be linked nationally and internationally and become more accessible and visible. If you are interested in cooperation or networking, please send your message to info@data-literacy.ch. Thank you!

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Why is the appeal linked to the coronavirus pandemic?

The current coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the shortcomings of our individual and social handling of data in unprecedented clarity at various levels. Since this pandemic cannot leave anyone untouched, either because of the restrictions to personal freedom, because of financial losses or illness in our personal environment, it seemed important to us to draw something positive from this serious crisis.


If, due to the current crisis, we manage to create the collective awareness of the long unnoticed data literacy problem and develop, as well as implement solutions, to address the problem, we will initiate at least a long overdue and vital change in our society.