Dhaka College: The Department of Statistics

Associate Prof. Reazul Hakim, Head of the Department of Statistics, Dhaka College

Statistics is the study of the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. It deals with all aspects of this, including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments.

A statistician is someone who is particularly well-versed in the ways of thinking necessary to successfully apply statistical analysis. Such people often gain experience through working in any of a wide number of fields. A discipline called mathematical statistics studies statistics mathematically.


The term statistics is ultimately derived from the New Latin statisticum collegium (“council of state”) and the Italian word statista (“statesman” or “politician”). The German Statistik, first introduced by Gottfried Achenwall (1749), originally designated the analysis of data about the state, signifying the “science of state” (then called political arithmetic in English). It acquired the meaning of the collection and classification of data generally in the early 19th century. It was introduced into English in 1791 by Sir John Sinclair when he published the first of 21 volumes titled Statistical Account of Scotland.

Thus, the original principal purpose of Statistik was data to be used by governmental and (often centralized) administrative bodies. The collection of data about states and localities continues, largely through national and international statistical services. In particular, censuses provide frequently updated information about the population.

The first book to have ‘statistics’ in its title was “Contributions to Vital Statistics” by Francis GP Neison, actuary to the Medical Invalid and General Life Office (1st ed., 1845; 2nd ed., 1846; 3rd ed., 1857).


By the 18th century, the term “statistics” designated the systematic collection of demographic and economic data by states. In the early 19th century, the meaning of “statistics” broadened to include the discipline concerned with the collection, summary, and analysis of data. Today statistics is widely employed in government, business, and all the sciences. Electronic computers have expedited statistical computation, and have allowed statisticians to develop “computer-intensive” methods.

The term “mathematical statistics” designates the mathematical theories of probability and statistical inference, which are used in statistical practice. The relation between statistics and probability theory developed rather late, however. In the 19th century, statistics increasingly used probability theory, whose initial results were found in the 17th and 18th centuries, particularly in the analysis of games of chance (gambling). By 1800, astronomy used probability models and statistical theories, particularly the method of least squares, which was invented by Legendre and Gauss. Early probability theory and statistics was systematized and extended by Laplace; following Laplace, probability and statistics have been in continual development. In the 19th century, statistical reasoning and probability models were used by social scientists to advance the new sciences of experimental psychology and sociology, and by physical scientists in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. The development of statistical reasoning was closely associated with the development of inductive logic and the scientific method.

Statistics can be regarded as not a field of mathematics but an autonomous mathematical science, like computer science and operations research. Unlike mathematics, statistics had its origins in public administration. It is used in demography and economics. With its emphasis on learning from data and making best predictions, statistics has a considerable overlap with decision science and microeconomics. With its concerns with data, statistics has overlap with information science and computer science.

Scope of Statistics

The scope of statistics is so vast and ever-expenditure that only it is difficult to define it but also unwise to do so. Statistics pervades all subject-matter – its use has permeated almost every facet of our live. It is a tool of all sciences indispensable to research and intelligent judgment and has become a recognized discipline in its own right. There is hardly any field whether it be trade, industry or commerce, economics, biology, botany, astronomy, physics, chemistry, education, medicine, sociology, psychology, or meteorology, where statistical tools are not applicable. In fact, the greatest victory of mankind of the 20th century that of landing of Apollo II on the moon would not have been success in the absence of statistical help. The applications of statistics are so numerous that it is often remarked “Statistics is what statisticians do.” 


The importance of official statistics Independent, quality statistics are a vital part of a country’s infrastructure. They underpin decisions by central and local government, businesses, international investors and potential migrants, community groups, and the general public. Access to relevant, accurate, and timely statistics greatly assists those making individual and commercial decisions. For example:

  • Key economic, infrastructural, and environmental decisions rely on official statistics.
  • Robust monitoring of the economy is reliant on official statistics, particularly through times of rapid change.
  • Official statistics are extremely important for decisions about government spending and the provision of social services (welfare, education, health, and justice).
  • Reliable statistics on social outcomes (such as education, health, general well-being) and the productivity of the public sector are required when assessing the value-for-money achieved from government spending.
  • Official statistics provide information to support the country’s democratic processes, through the use of census information to adjust electoral boundaries and calculate the number of general and Mäori electorates.
  • Official statistics help us to understand our identity, the social and economic development of New Zealanders, and the country’s overall progress.


Statistics in Indian subcontinent:

While statistics have been collected and used in the Indian subcontinent from antiquity, major changes in collection and use took place during the British period (1757 – 1947) in Indian history. Some of this change was due to new imperial needs, but much of it occurred indirectly as a result of western education and a spirit of scientific curiosity and experimentation. Interest in rapid social, economic and technological development added a new dimension after India’s independence in 1947. Half a century after that momentous event seems a good time to take stock of how Statistics has developed in India. The following account is meant to be a brief history rather than a current assessment. To us the most important period after independence is the decade 1950 to 1960 when so many things were happening at the same time. Our account begins in antiquity, focuses on the period 1930 to 1960 and ends with a brief sequel.

The architect of modern statistical methods in the Indian subcontinent was undoubtedly P.C. Mahalnobis, but he was helped by a galaxy of very distinguished scientists that included C.R. Rao, R.C. Bose, S.N. Roy, S.S. Bose, K.R. Nair, D.B. Lahiriand many others. There were also others like P.V. Sukhatme, and V.G. Panse who worked independently of Mahalnobis.

Statistics in Bangladesh:

QaziMotaharHossainwas the founder of Statistics in Bangladesh. He passed M A in Physics in 1921 from Dhaka College under Calcutta University. Before his M A examination he got important help from ProfessorSatyen Bose who came to Dhaka in 1921 as a student of Physics of newly established DhakaUniversity.

With the encouragement and stimulation of Satyen Bose he went to Kolkata in order to study Statistics. Statistician Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis had just established Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata to introduce the new subject to Indian students. Hossain was taught the subject by Mr. Mahalanobis. In 1938 he got a Diploma in Statistics from ISI.

QaziMotaharHossain joined the newly established Dhaka University in 1921 as a demonstrator of Physics while he was a student of M A at Dhaka College. In 1923 he was promoted to assistant-lecturer. In 1948 M Ain Statisticswas established with his own effort and he joined the department. He retired from Dhaka University in 1961. In 1964 he founded the Institute of Statistical Research and Training. From 1964-1966 he served as the founder-director of the institute. He retired from the position of director in 1966.

Bangladesh bureau of Educational Information and Statistics (BANBEIS) was established in 1977 to collect, compile and disseminate all kinds of information and statistics relating to post primary stages of education in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS):

The main source of official statistics in Bangladesh. The bureau is under the Statistics Division of the Ministry of Planning, Government of Bangladesh and is accountable to and liable for acquiring, processing, preserving and publishing all types of statistical data. The statistical system of the country is mostly centralized in BBS. It was created by the government in August 1974. A separate Statistics Division was also established in July 1975. A Secretary heads the division. He heads the Bureau as its Director General. A Deputy Director General supports the Director General. In policy matters, BBS is under the administrative control of the Statistics Division.

Statistics in Dhaka College:

In 1984, Statistics was included as a higher secondary subject in DhakaCollege and in 1992, it was introduced in graduation level. A remarkable number of students got letter mark in HSC examination in Statistics which leads them to take place in top 20 position of combined HSC examination result. In the academic session 1995 – 96 Statistics introduced in post-graduation level and from 1999-2000, it was recognized as a full-fledged department. In the academic session 2001-2002, the traditional three year B.Sc (Honours) course has been changed to four year B.Sc (Honours). Now 140 students get scope to admit in first year B.Sc.(Honours) course per year under NationalUniversity, Gazipur. Each year high percentage of students secured GPA 5 in HSC examination and first class in BSc (Honours) final examination.