Universalizing science and technology literacy

Scientific and technological literacy

Scientific and technological literacy, in its broadest sense means the ability to apply scientific and technological concepts and process skills to the life, work and culture of one’s own society. It therefore includes attitudes and values enabling one to distinguish between worthwhile or inappropriate uses of science or technology.

‘Technological literacy is a multi-dimensional term that necessarily includes the ability to use technology (practical dimension), the ability to understand the issues raised by the use of technology (civic dimension) and the appreciation of the significance of technology (cultural dimension)

Components of scientific and technological literacy:

  • The development of scientific and technological attitudes, approaches and skills which are necessary to cope with a rapidly changing environment and which are useful for problem – solving and decision-making in daily life.
  • An appreciation of the nature of science and technology, and development of positive attitudes and values relating basic science and technology to other areas of human activity.
  • Exposure to effective teaching strategies and relevant examples of science and technology (at primary, secondary, tertiary or adult education) either within a formal programme, or through non-formal or distance educational methods);
  • Familiarisation with the processes of accessing and communicating science and technology information and a willingness to use it to meet personal, local or global requirements.

A person becomes scientifically and technologically literate by some involvement with applications of science or technology which interest them, or are intimately related to their everyday life, or which they perceive as being significant or important to them beyond the requirement of examinations. Attitudes and confidence are usually most effectively developed by significant first hand or contrived experiences.

Project 2000+: Origin and purpose

  • The need to promote a world community of scientifically and technologically literate citizens was regarded as urgent by the World Conference on Education for All held in Jomtien in 1990.
  • The UNESCO Project 2000+, committed to developing appropriate structures and activities to foster scientific and technological literacy for all, in all the countries of the world, was a direct response to this need identified at the earlier World Conference.
  • Project 2000+is a collaborative partnership between eleven major international agencies and inter-governmental organisations with particular concerns and responsibilities for research and development in the field of science and technology education.
  • At an International Forum in 1993, 400 participants from 80 countries met in Paris to establish a global agenda supporting individuals, institutions, organisations and governments working towards the reform and revitalisation of science and technology education at all levels.
  • Priority should be given to providing equal access for all boys, girls, men and women to science and technology.
  • It called for continuing provision for teacher education in this field and for task forces to be set up to foster scientific and technological literacy for all by developing educational activities designed to set science and its applications in a wider social and cultural environment.
  • The 1993 Declaration urged agencies, NGOs, IGOs and governments to work together to advance the capability of countries for designing, planning and implementing programmes to enhance scientific and technological literacy for all.
  • It recommended that UNESCO made provision during this decade for an international programme of co-operation in the field of science and technology education.
  • This programme has focussed on strengthening regional and sub-regional networks for exchange of ideas, information, human and material resources.

Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (STI) 2013

India has declared 2010-20 as the “Decade of Innovation”. The Government has stressed the need to enunciate a policy to synergize science, technology and innovation and has also established the National Innovation Council (NlnC). The STI Policy 2013 is in furtherance of these pronouncements.

  • Released in the Indian Science Congress at Kolkata.
  • use STI for faster, sustainable and more inclusive growth
  • focus on both STI for people and people for STI.
  • We will position India among the top five global scientific powers by 2020
  • We’ll release more research papers.
  • We’ll Encourage private sector to invest in Research and Development (R&D)
  • We’ll Achieve gender parity in S&T. (meaning bring more female scientists)
  • Global cooperation, science diplomacy.

The Key features of the STI policy 2013

  • Promoting the spread of scientific temper amongst all sections of society.
  • Enhancing skills for applications of science among the young from all social sectors.
  • Making careers in science, research and innovation attractive enough for talented and bright minds.
  • Establishing world class infrastructure for R&D for gaining global leadership in some select frontier areas of science.
  • Positioning India among the top five global scientific powers by 2020 (by increasing the share of global scientific publications from 3.5% to over 7% and quadrupling the number of papers in top 1% journals from the current levels).
  • Linking contributions of Science Research and innovation system with the inclusive economic   growth agenda and combining  priorities of excellence and relevance.
  • Creating an environment for enhanced private sector participation in R &D.
  • Enabling conversion of R & D output with societal and commercial applications by replicating hitherto successful models, as well as establishing of new PPP structures.
  • Seeking S&T based high risk innovation through new mechanisms.
  • Fostering resource optimized cost-effective innovation across size and technology domains.
  • Triggering in the mindset & value systems to recognize respect and reward performances which create wealth from S&T derived knowledge.
  • Creating a robust national innovation system.
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