The IAP Science Education Programme’s (SEP) Global Council held its annual meeting in August in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting was hosted by the National Science Museum of Thailand, which also organized a ‘Policy Forum on Science Literacy: Roles of science museums and science centres’. GYA Co-Chair Connie Nshemereirwe participated in the meeting as the GYA representative on the Global Council.
The meeting was centred around the role of science museums and science centres in promoting science literacy and a ‘culture of science’. The emphasis that governments place on science museums around the world varies quite dramatically, and this has resulted in quite an unbalanced distribution of them. For example, Susan Stocklmayer, Founder Director of the UNESCO Centre for Public Awareness of Science, highlighted the need for more science centres or science museums in Africa, where of the 41 such resources on the continent, 33 are located in South Africa. Other participants shared best-practice examples for how to have an impact even in under-resourced settings, for instance with small traveling exhibitions. Further, technological advances now open up greater possibilities for virtual exhibitions, which can be more easily shared with other organizations.
The council called on IAP members, but also early-career researchers, and particularly the Global Young Academy, to make use of their opportunities worldwide to exploit the potential of science exhibitions and museums within their local contexts.
Read more about the forum and its recommendations here.