Puerto Rico Senate proposes mandatory class on statistics for public employees
SAN JUAN – At a time when the Puerto Rican government is inclined to privatize the Statistics Institute, the Senate passed Monday a bill to make the Institute’s Academy and Workshops Program a mandatory requirement for public officials responsible for gathering data or statistics from government agencies.
Senate Bill 15, introduced by Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz and Sen. José Vargas Vidot, proposes prioritizing the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) among contractors as a response to the student community’s request to have the institution seen as a contractor.
“I firmly believe that the Statistics Institute is vital to perform analyses and tendencies. I only want to give a warning based on the comments made by the governor [Ricardo Rosselló] earlier that he wants to give independence to the institute and tie it to the private sector,” Vargas Vidot stressed regarding the administration’s intention to privatize the institute as part of its plan to reduce the number of agencies.
The bill approved during the beginning of the third ordinary session stipulates that all public officials or employees working in the field of statistics must participate in the academy for 12 hours a year to strengthen their knowledge and skills. The measure will not apply to employees of programs with requirements of federal laws or programs.
The Statistics Institute currently runs a workshop program, which its executive director, Mario Marazzi, explained teaches theoretical and practical courses.
If the bill is enacted, a continuing education certification would be required to “occupy and remain in a position” in government. Participating employees must prove their knowledge in areas such as analytical depth and computer skills.
The Senate will resume its work Jan. 16, at 1 p.m.