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Singapore Census 2000 To Use Internet

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) of Singapore has just signed a S$12 million contract with National Computer Systems Pte Ltd. (NCS), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Singapore Telecom Group, for the provision of a complete Internet, call-center solution for Singapore's Population Census 2000.

In the deal, NCS will provide the Singapore Department of Statistics (DOS), who will be conducting this census in mid 2000, with a complete solution for data collection via Internet filing, telephone interviews, and field interviews, and data processing.

Census 2000 is the first census in Asia to use Internet and call-center technologies for data collection from the population, said Leow Bee Geok, director of household and population statistics of DOS.

The Internet filing technology for Census 2000 is the same as that for income tax submission but technical requirements for the census are different.

For instance, the income tax form is blank and users need to key in every bit of their personal information. The census form, on the other hand, already contains the background information and identity of the individual. It is customized for the individual.

Leow also said this is the first census in Asia to use a well-developed population register.

"Taiwan has a population register but it is not fully developed for census purposes," she said.

Developed by DOS, the population register for Singapore combines the population's information from various administrative sources for identification in the census.

NCS is currently studying DOS' needs for conducting the census. The company is also working with Singapore Telecom to set up and operate a Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) Center.

Besides providing the technology for customized Internet filing and a CATI Center, NCS will also provide the technology to convert hardcopy forms from field interviews to electronic forms.

"We want to upgrade our survey operations [to] help save man-power cost," said Fiona Yip, assistant director of household and population statistics of DOS.

This is the fourth population census since Singapore obtained independence.