SA’s Census goes Hitech, says Goodbye to Paper Work

The traditional method of collecting information for the national census will be a thing of the past, as plans are in place to introduce a tech-savvy way to gather SA’s population data in 2021.
Statistics SA (Stats SA) last conducted a population and household census in 2011, and thousands of enumerators, armed with pencils and questionnaire forms, went door-to-door recording citizens’ data.
For census 2021, however, an Internet-based platform will be used to collect the population information, according to National Treasury’s full budget review document. The document is released to coincide with finance minister Malusi Gigaba’s Budget 2018 speech.
According to the budget review, using an Internet-based platform will require the purchase of about 165 000 specialised tablets linked to cloud-based servers, with communications on secure mobile infrastructure, and costs are expected to amount to R750 million.
It states: “About 150 000 fieldworkers will be employed. The technology is expected to improve data quality and collection rates, and allow for real-time monitoring and supervision. Quicker results will support timely, evidence-based policy making.”
While most countries around the world still use traditional forms for census, SA wouldn’t be the first nation to introduce a tech-influenced method to collect citizens’ information. Countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada have introduced an online response option for their censuses.
A poll conducted by Stats SA, some 10 years ago, into the possibility of adding an online channel to the census, received overwhelmingly positive results. At the time, however, the national statistical service said more research needed to be done before a firm decision could be taken.
The budget review document revealed Stats SA will receive R1 billion to prepare for the 2021 census, which will be a positive boost to cover some of the costs associated with the exercise of collecting data digitally.
According to Stats SA estimates, the new technology and methods for the census will cost R3.4 billion.
Over the medium-term, National Treasury has allocated additional funds of R37.1 million for the 2018/19 financial year, R145.3 million in 2019/20 and R855 million in 2020/21 to Stats SA.


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.