Proceedings of the 2014 International Conference on Advances in Education Technology

Development of a Scientific Literate Society: Status and Challenges

Lilia Halim
Corresponding author
Scientific Literacy, human capacity building, science education
Building a scientific society is a necessary prerequisite for Malaysia in its attempt to be a developed and modern society based on science and technology. A scientifically literate society entails citizens who are literate in science and technology, and are able to make rational and objective decisions based on such knowledge for the society well-being. Besides being a consumer of scientific developments and innovations, a scientifically literate society requires a critical social mass that will ensure the availability of human capital for innovation and progress based on science and technology. The main vehicle to realise this agenda is through science education. This paper, based on the work undertaken by the author in the field of science education in Malaysia and related works of other scholars pertaining to scientific literacy, offers reflections on the following four questions: the importance of developing a scientific literate society; the level of scientific literacy achieved, the factors contributing to the level of scientific literacy, and the challenges in developing a scientifically literate society. The paper argues that while the level of scientific literacy in Malaysia is commendable, there is still a lot of room for improvement. To achieve this, two central issues need to be addressed: the quality of science teachers and their professionalism.
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