Are Singaporeans scientifically literate? And how interested are Singaporeans in pursuing science-related careers?
Science is all around us – from the digestive system that churns your breakfast after sunrise to the instant blackout when you flick the light switch before flopping into the bed for a good night rest. Though our country is gradually venturing into a technologically-advanced city, the global study done by 3M has revealed that Singaporeans might not be appreciating science enough.
On March 13, 2018 – global science company 3M carried out the largest global science perception survey.The study involved 14,000 people (aged 18+) across 14 countries, including 1000 in Singapore and it extensively explored the topic of science across three themes through a series of questions and sharing: Image of Science, Impact of Science and Expectations of Science.
How Singaporeans fared against global standards.
Singaporeans are excited about the future impact of science – the survey showed that 67% (vs 66% globally) of Singaporeans look forward to see the future of science in Singapore while 69% (vs 62% globally) think that the best days of science have yet to come.
When asked what they believe science will achieve in their lifetime, the top responses included robots in every workplace (76%), robots in every home (70%), cure cancer (71%) and flying cars (53%).
Not surprisingly, Singaporeans want kids to pursue careers in science-related fields – a large proportion of parents (94% vs 92% globally) want their kids to know more about science and most Singaporeans (84% vs 82% globally) would encourage kids to pursue a career in science. Needless to say, medicine and science degrees are deemed as prestigious in our society today!
Ironically, the trust in science amongst Singaporeans is low. The study uncovered that Singapore scores a 49.1 on the Science Trust Index (an aggregate score of perceptions on trust/skepticism in science), compared to the global average of 56.1, which makes Singapore ranked among the bottom countries on the index.
This revealed that Singaporeans are more likely to distrust scientists and most feel that science causes just as many problems as solutions. Additionally, 51% of Singaporeans believe that if science did not exist, their everyday lives would not be all that different. This is an astonishing news for a country that relies on high technology and science to drive the economy!
3M and TEDxSingapore Collaborate on Science Perception Discussion.
In line with the launch of the 3M State of Science Index, 3M and TEDxSingapore, a community event titled the 3M State of Science Panel and Community Discussion was held to discuss answers to the question: “What is the Future of Science in Singapore?”.
The discussion explained trends and gaps in Singaporeans’ attitudes towards science. Members of the public also buzzed around for an Interactive Ideation Session to address the gaps identified by the panelists.
Dr Jeffrey Tung (Head of R&D, 3M Singapore and South East Asia Region) highlighted the importance of the conscientious efforts to raise awareness of on the impact of science in our society.
He mentioned, “As such, we want to champion science by collaborating with communities like TEDxSingapore to start a conversation around the topic, and continue partnering with educational institutes to champion science.”
Mr Dave Lim, Curator TEDxSingapore and TEDxAmbassador also shared his enthusiasm in enabling more people to gain deeper insights of science in their everyday lives and connect all science-lovers to ideate how they can spark wider appreciation of science in Singapore.