The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has given a firm assurance that it is well prepared to deliver the 2020 population and Housing Census (PHC) on schedule.
The Head of Publicity, Education and Advocacy for the 2020 Census, Francis Nyarko Larbi, who gave the assurance, said the GSS was optimistic that it would meet the timelines for the exercise because the resource and logistical requirements for the census had been catered for.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic last Saturday, Mr Larbi said barring any last-minute hitches, the census would begin on March 15, 2020, with the first two weeks expected to be used for listing, a process that comprises the zoning and coding of the number of houses and structures to be covered in the census.
Recruitment and training
“An online recruitment process has already begun and we are optimistic that the required human resource will be trained for the take-off of the exercise as planned,” he said.
He added that processes to recruit and train officials for the census had begun and would be completed by the beginning of March before the exercise on March 15.
“The training will be carried out at the national, regional and district levels, with the training of trainers at the national level expected to start this January,” he said.
Mr Larbi said the census, estimated to cost GH¢477 million, would require the recruitment of over 60,000 people.
“The night after the listing will be declared the Census Night and will serve as the reference point for the main counting exercise, which will also take place for two weeks. We expect that the counting will be done in two weeks, but after that, we will allow one week for mopping up in areas that have not been able to finish for exceptional reasons. This is especially so because we do not want to leave anyone behind,” he said.
Mr Larbi said unlike the previous years, the 2020 PHC would be largely technology-driven, for which reason the right digital mechanisms had been put in place to address any bottlenecks relating to Internet fluctuation.
“We are almost through with the preparations for the 2020 Census which will involve a lot of technology because we will not use papers. The questionnaire, map and all that will be needed will be uploaded on a tablet, which will be linked to servers at the national office for the prompt and daily relay of information from enumerators on the field.
“Internet fluctuation is one of the principal challenges we anticipate, so we have put in place structures to ensure that supervisors will be on stand-by to pick up data from the field where there are Internet challenges and send them to the head office,” he said.
Mr Larbi also said the last trial census meant to test systems and identify lapses ended in December last year and that the data were currently being analysed.
“We are looking at the system to see how data from the tablets of field officers will be in sync with the servers at the national office, as well as problems that we noticed from the first trial census and how they have been efficiently tackled in the second one because we want to ensure that everything will go well in the mass exercise,” he said.
Touching on the release of funds for the exercise, he said: “For now, for all the activities that we are supposed to do according to our work plan, we have the resources to carry them through.”
He added that based on the timely release of funds for the trial census and other preparatory activities, the GSS was optimistic that funds would be made available to carry out the remaining exercises.
Mr Larbi urged members of the public to take a keen interest in the exercise and cooperate with the enumeration officers for a successful census.