World Conference on Science Literacy held in Beijing China, Sept 17-19, 2018, President ECOSF among the Invited Speakers
China Association for Science & Technology (CAST) organized the World Conference on Science Literacy 2018 in Beijing from September 17 to 19, 2018. The conference was themed "Science Literacy for a Shared and Better Future”, which aimed to integrate resources, experiences, and strengths in promoting public science literacy across the globe. The conference provided an opportunity to encourage the global science and technology community to respond to future challenges and opportunities through advancing the public science literacy. More than 1,000 scientists and representatives from 38 countries and regions, as well as 23 international scientific organizations and 58 national scientific institutes, attended the conference. The President of ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) Prof. Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro participated in the conference as an invited speaker and contributed in the session on Innovations in Science Education for the Future.
A congratulatory message from Chinese President Xi Jinping was read during the opening ceremony. In his message, President Xi Jinping stressed that Science Literacy lays the ground for innovation. He recognized the significance of the conference and highlighted the role of public science literacy in building a community of a shared future for mankind.
Prof. Wan Gang, the President of CAST in his opening remarks urged all stakeholders to devote themselves to the promotion of science literacy with greater commitment and take positive actions to develop closely coordinated social networks. Prof. Gang stressed that increasing scientific literacy can refresh ideas of the people, expand their potential, allow them to fulfill their value and contribute to society. China makes a dedicated goal in improving science literacy, allocates resources for popularization of science and has the key political support and government programs to achieve that goal, he added. Prof. Gang opined that China wishes to actively engage in international cooperation and working mechanisms, to help reduce the gap in scientific literacy around the world and to inject positive energy for scientific development and a better world.
President ECOSF, Prof. Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro participated as an invited speaker by CAST in the parallel session on Innovations in the Science Education for the Future. It is important to mention here that this session was organized by the Children and Youth Science Center of CAST (CYSC-CAST) & China Association of Children’s Science Instructors (CACSI) who are the partners of ECOSF for promotion of Science Education along the Belt and Road including the ECO region. The session was moderated by Prof. Ding Bangping of Capital Normal University Beijing, China. Prof. Soomro delivered his presentation entitled; “Innovation in Science Education Developing Competence in Emerging Technologies for the Sustainable Future”. Prof. Soomro in his presentation highlighted the scale of penetration and adoption of Digital Technologies around the 4th Industrial Revolution that is rapidly changing entire sectors of the economy. He advocated that there is an urgent need to develop digital competencies and technological skills that will allow everyone to fit in the world of tomorrow for sustainable future. “Given that picture of a rapid change of technology, we see a much slower rate of evolution of the schools, and that means we're seeing a bigger and bigger gap between schools and tech society”, he said. Prof. Soomro further added that pedagogical approach requires overhauling, with adoption of innovative science teaching methods to engage our youth in a learning environment with logical use of modern learning aids and digital tools. He concluded that the evidence based learning should be combined with digital and modern technologies to make judicious use of ICT/modern tools into a school curriculum which can help train the children to be more rational citizens.
It is important to mention that along with Prof. Soomro, numerous other leading science education experts around the globe also contributed to the session on Innovations in the Science Education for the Future. They highlighted various streams of innovations being undertaken in the science education around the globe. The list of speakers is given below:
- Hu Weiping, Key Laboratory of Modern Teaching Technology Shaan Normal University, Xi'an China
Construction and Practice of STEAM Education System for Middle and Primary Schools
- Dato Lee Yee Cheong, Chair of IAP SEP Global Council Chairman, International Science Technology and Innovation Centre for South-South Cooperation (ISTIC), Malaysia
InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) and World Science Literacy
- Ren Youqun, Professor of East China Normal University
The Concept and Approach of information Technology Curriculum Development in Shanghai
- Christine Anne Royce, President of National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, USA
Science Education: Opening Doors to the Future through innovation and Collaboration
- Mary Whitehouse, Chair of the Association for Science Education, Honorary Fellow, University of York Science Education Group, UK
A Science Education for All
- Susan Raikes, Director of Learning for the Science Museum Group, UK
Inspiring Futures: Igniting Curiosity in Science
At the end of the conference, the Beijing Declaration for “Promoting Public Science Literacy across the World” was adopted by the conference. The declaration called for working together to close the gap in scientific literacy between different countries, and build a coordinated working mechanism to improve global scientific literacy and fulfill the United Nation's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The declaration also called for promoting the harmonious development of science and technology with culture, society and nature, to contribute to the improvement in public science literacy, and to create a better future for the whole of human society. The Beijing Declaration can be accessed at: http://english.cast.org.cn/n58022623/c58191303/content.html