The National Action Scheme of Scientific Literacy for All Chinese Citizens

With a view to implementing the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Popularization of Science and Technology and the Outline of the National Program for Medium-and Long-Term Scientific and Technological Development, as well as to giving comprehensive impetus to the construction of scientific literacy for the Chinese citizens, the State Council promulgated for implementation the Outline of the National Action Scheme of Scientific Literacy for All Chinese Citizens (2006-2016-2020) (hereinafter referred to as the Outline) in February 2006. Furthermore, in order to draw up a plan and make practical arrangements for the phased goals, key tasks, organization and implementation regarding the work of civil scientific literacy set for China’s 12th Five Year Plan, the General Office of the State Council issued the Implementation Plan for the Outline of the National Action Scheme of Scientific Literacy for All Chinese Citizens (2011-2015) in June 2011.

Since the start of the implementation of the Outline, various regions and multiple departments have, in line with the guideline of “with governments as the driving force, engaging the entire society in the enhancement of scientific literacy and the promotion of harmony” and by adhering to the principle of “teaming up with all social forces for multi-faceted cooperation”, worked effectively to carry out the Outline, achieving remarkable results.

Guarantees further strengthened

Jointly issued by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, the Opinions on Deepening the Reform of the System for Managing Science and Technology and Speeding up the Construction of a National Innovation System explicitly stipulates that by 2015, the ratio of Chinese citizens with basic scientific literacy must exceed 5%, and that the implementation of the Outline of the National Action Scheme of Scientific Literacy for All Chinese Citizens be incorporated into the country’s five-year plans for national economic and social development, thus making it a priority for government departments relating to science, technology, education and talent. As a result, the Central Government has increased financial input into and formulated preferential taxation policies to facilitate this effort. All these have provided strong guarantees for the scientific literacy-related work.

The operational mechanism further improved

In order for the Outline to be fully implemented, the State Council set up a working office consisting of 33 government departments and agencies. Headquartered at China Association for Science and Technology (CAST), the working office is commissioned with the task of putting into effect the National Action Scheme of Scientific Literacy for All Chinese Citizens. Likewise, governments at different levels have also established similar leading and coordinating institutions, forming a working mechanism wherein the governments act as the driving force, multiple departments join hands for cooperation, and the society and the general public is extensively engaged.

The public service capabilities constantly increase

The program underscores the importance of such infrastructure work as science education and training, the development and sharing of popular science resources, the science communication capabilities of mass-media, the construction of basic popular science education facilities and the contingent of talent for the popularization of science and technology; it also highlights the necessity of constantly increasing the public service capabilities of the civil scientific literacy-related work, as well as creating more opportunities and opening up more paths through which the general public can enhance its scientific literacy. According to the available statistics, by the end of 2014, some 129 science and technology museums that are up to the Construction Standards of Science and Technology Museums have been built and put into operation across China, plus the availability of another 134 mobile science and technology museums and a fleet of 865 Science Wagons. Together, they have welcomed a combined total of over 75 million visits. In the case of China Digital Science and Technology Museum, its average daily PVs have exceeded 2.2 millions, and its domestic ALEXA ranking has been maintained at around 200th.  As well, the number of popular science education bases at the provincial level or above has reached 3,885 with the annual attendance hitting approximately 280 millions.

The coverage rate of themed activities increases day by day

Centering around such themes as energy and resources, the ecological environment, safety and health, innovation and creativity, China Association for Science and Technology has, in collaboration with the pertaining departments, mobilized all sectors of the society to organize a myriad of themed popular science activities, e.g. the National Science and Technology Week, the National Science Popularization Day. Every year, the number of direct participants exceeds 200 millions.

Citizens’ scientific literacy enhances markedly

Focusing on the characteristics and needs of such groups as teenagers, farmers, urban laborers, leading officials, civil servants and community residents, CAST, along with the departments concerned, has been conducting its work with specific goals, resulting in a remarkable increase in citizens’ scientific literacy. According to the Eighth Sample Survey on the Chinese Citizens’ Scientific Literacy, in the year 2010, the ratio of Chinese citizens with basic scientific literacy was 3.27%, an increase of 1.67 percentage points compared with 1.60% in 2005.


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