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Science for Informed Citizens - Essay Example

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This essay is based on VELS discipline based learning strand for science which states that: "A major goal of science education is to develop citizens who are capable of engaging in informed debate about science and its applications. Increasing emphasis will be placed on the role of science…
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Science for Informed Citizens
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Download file to see previous pages A fundamental goal for science education is to stimulate, respond to and nourish such curiosity, wonder and questioning. Science provides us with one view of the world - a view that changes as our knowledge and understanding of science evolves. It extends our understanding beyond what affects us to include what we can't see, feel, hear or touch but can only imagine (VELS Science Discipline Strand, 2005) If a nation's best asset is its people, its future is its children. Hence, the major goal of science education is to educate and develop students that would become citizens capable of engaging in an informed debate regarding science and adheres to its code of ethics.
The core values of science to society are: rationality, creativity, the search for truth, and an adherence to codes of honorable behavior. (Inter Academy Council, 2007) In addition, science is viewed or characterized as: impartial, neutral and autonomous. Science is impartial because there is no proper role for moral, social and any other non-cognitive values, alongside the cognitive (or epistemic) values, in the appraisal of the soundness of scientific understanding. Well conceived scientific practices produce a body of understanding that is neutral among contending value-outlooks that neither cognitively nor in practical applications do they favor the claims or interests of any particular value-outlooks. Its research practices are autonomous because their methodologies should be unencumbered by political, religious and other non-cognitive interests. (Lacey, 2001)
Given its value and characteristics, the pursuit for science is defined or governed by its environment. Science in combination with technology plays an important role in modern society. Science is the discovery and explanation of nature. Once the manipulation of scientific understanding of nature is harnessed for human purposes, a new technology is developed. How this technology is harnessed is defined by social and cultural factors that surround it. Hence, science and technology are rooted in the society which creates them (Webster, 1991).
If people learn and understand the value of science in order to enhance knowledge and productivity, the collective role of all citizens will help sustain a nation's growth and development. The imagination and vision that science brings to bear on theoretical speculations and practical problems, allows people to analyze present or future implications, make better choices, and invest resources wisely.
This view and understanding of science brings global implications. Western science has a long history of denigrating knowledge and beliefs from native, indigenous, eastern cultures, and societies that use scientific methods outside their accepted ways and ethics. This are generally attributed to the traditional values and cultures of these nations which differ significantly from the values of mainstream science. (James, n.d) ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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