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China’s Scientific Literacy Thrives

China issued an outline of a national campaign for scientific literacy on June 25, laying out tasks for 2021 to 2035 based on the notable achievements made in this field. According to the guideline, scientifically literate citizens made up 10.56% of the population in 2020, with improving scientific education and training systems, and international exchanges in scientific literacy seeing new breakthroughs. As China aims to be a country with strength in science and technology, scientific literacy should play a big part in serving economic and social development.

By 2025, scientifically literate citizens should account for more than 15% of the whole population, with unbalanced scientific literacy development among all regions and groups alleviated. And the 2035 target will be 25%, laying a solid foundation for China to become one of the most innovative nations. China will make great efforts to enhance curiosity and imagination among youth in their interests in science, the consciousness of innovation, and capacity to innovate.

China will improve science education in elementary schools and promote sci-tech popularisation in higher education. The government will also carry out a plan to cultivate talents for scientific innovation. A plan to cultivate talents for scientific innovation will be carried out, with individualised training for young people who show scientific potential. China will also establish a cohesive mechanism for education resources in and out of the classroom and implement a project to enhance teachers’ scientific literacy.

The scientific literacy campaign also covers the agricultural population, with education and activities mainly on ecological environment protection, thrift in energy and resources, green production, disaster prevention and alleviation, hygiene and health, and changes in old customs and habits.

With the help of agricultural broadcasting and television schools, China will launch education and training for farmers, with over 1 million being cultivated in entrepreneurship and technological innovation. The campaign will also focus on improving the scientific literacy of girls and women in rural areas to help them engage in the modernisation drive of agriculture.

Promoting technique innovation, improving the professional skills of industrial workers and guiding entrepreneurs seeking more innovation and taking on more social responsibilities are necessary actions to improve scientific literacy in China. Elderly people should also have opportunities to learn how to use intelligent technologies and acquire better healthcare education.

The outline specifies that government officials should gain more knowledge on the strategy of invigorating China through the development of science, education and the strategy of technological innovation-driven development, and enhance their scientific decision-making. Scientific literacy must be taken into account for the recruitment and assessment of government officials.

During the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025), China will carry out five major projects to popularise science, boost scientific literacy, extend resource coverage, and improve international exchanges for global governance. To ensure implementation of the plan, the China Association for Science and Technology will coordinate related parties to jointly push forward building scientific literacy, and local governments should include it in their comprehensive projects, annual work plans and evaluation of target management.

China has been focusing on improving its people’s education in science and technology, including popularising digital skills, as reported by OpenGov Asia. The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) recently released a plan to increase digital skill education and training to the public to help more people reap the promise of digital development.

Digital capacity refers to solving problems by using digital technologies and relevant tools. He said that an all-people digital skill education and training activity can help promote industrial digitalisation and digital industrialisation. It will make consumers more capable of using more kinds of products and able to experience better digital services.

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