Up to 100,000 school teachers will carry out Burma’s door-to-door census in 2014 with the support of the United Nations, in what will be Burma’s first census since 1983. The country is believed to have around 60 million residents.
Officials said some areas in the country might be out of reach because of hostilities between the government and armed ethnic groups, accounting for an estimated 2 per cent of the population.
Immigration Minister Khin Yi said the teachers would survey around 11 million households in more than 300 townships across the country.
“We will use about 100,000 primary school teachers to make the list of people and 20,000 middle school teachers to check the list,” he said during a Lower House of Parliament meeting in Naypyitaw.
Khin Yi said about 2 per cent of he estimated population would probably be left out because of ongoing fighting in ethnic areas, mainly in Kachin State.
He did not mention if the Muslim Rohingya who live largely in western Arakan (Rakhine) State would be included. They are not recognized as citizens by the government.
An estimated 800,000 Rohingya are described by the UN as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities.
The UN in April pledged to help Burma carry out the census, by offering technical support and mobilizing financial support. It will train trainers who will instruct the school teachers in the procedures to conduct a credible census.
Updated population figures could help the government provide better services and lead to Burma’s ethnic groups gaining greater recognition in the state.
In May, the newly established Parliamentary Committee on Population and Social Development chairperson Maung Maung Swe said: “Data obtained from the census will be linked to national planning.”
UN representative Mohamed Abdel-Ahad said: “Censuses generate accurate information on population growth and help to estimate current and future needs, including needs for schools, teachers, hospitals, doctors, nurses, employment opportunities, housing, and social security and safety nets.”