Science for all

THE (Times Higher Education) - - LET­TERS -

We live in a be­wil­der­ing, in­ter­con­nected world of tech­nol­ogy and mas­sive datasets un­der­pinned by ma­jor ad­vances that science is de­liv­er­ing at an ap­par­ently ac­cel­er­at­ing pace. How­ever, it seems that the population is in­creas­ingly iso­lated from any un­der­stand­ing of the science and tech­nolo­gies that seem to rule our lives.

How do we gain ac­cess to what is re­ally hap­pen­ing in a world where pseu­do­science is di­gested by the masses, while real science in­flu­ences nearly ev­ery­thing and pro­vides those who can use and ma­nip­u­late it with great power?

How can we en­sure that peo­ple are bet­ter able to as­sess in­for­ma­tion in a way that leads to bet­ter choices for so­ci­ety and the planet? For me, the an­swer is ed­u­ca­tion, in­clud­ing ro­bust science ed­u­ca­tion, at ev­ery level of so­ci­ety.

It is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of uni­ver­si­ties to at­tempt to of­fer ev­ery stu­dent in­sights into the sci­en­tific method. A grasp of how science works will re­sult in an im­proved ca­pac­ity to re­flect, ques­tion and cri­tique any in­for­ma­tion that flows to them, from what­ever source.

The world ap­pears at a cross­roads, fac­ing great chal­lenges, such as our grow­ing global population. Hav­ing a sci­en­tif­i­cally lit­er­ate population is key, with science ed­u­ca­tion in­form­ing choices, im­prov­ing un­der­stand­ing of com­plex is­sues and help­ing us ad­dress our chal­lenges.

Quentin Parker

As­so­ciate dean (global)

Fac­ulty of Science

Univer­sity of Hong Kong

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