Science Is Everywhere but Nobody Knows It

A study by researchers from the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) at Stellenbosch University, funded by the National Research Foundation, has found that there is a large difference in how urban community members perceive and interpret science compared to their counterparts in rural areas. The 2015 Science Engagement Framework of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) emphasises the need to popularise science, enhance science literacy and develop a critical and engaging public, however most of the proposed strategies focus on urban areas, a surprising development since the Department’s previous White Paper on Science and Technology (1996) explicitly highlighted rural publics.

With approximately one third of South Africa’s population living in rural areas, the country has a very large population that has been under-serviced in terms of science engagement. Research has found that urban publics are predominantly more literate and educated with access to a greater amount of sources for scientific information while rural publics tend towards being less literate, less educated and with lower incomes and fewer sources available for scientific information.

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