In February 2006, the State Council issued the Outline of the Action Plan for the Nation's Science Literacy, in a move to raise the nation's scientific literacy in a phased manner from 2006 to 2010, and further to 2020. The Outline is made up of six major parts, including foreword, policies and objectives, major actions, infrastructure projects, supporting conditions, and implementation.
To oversee the implementation of the Outline, a leading group was set up under the State Council with State Councilor Mme. Chen Zhili as the leader. The China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) was charged with the responsibility of handling the routine work of the Leading Group.
The implementation of the action plan will make Chinese citizens' scientific literacy be greatly enhanced through S&T education, propagation, and diffusions. By 2010, Chinese citizens'scientific literacy will reach a level that major developed nations have achieved at the end of the 1980s. By 2020, China will enjoy a substantial boom in S&T related education, propagation, and diffusions. The efforts will produce a well-established system for implementation, infrastructures, supporting, and evaluation. China will also witness noticeably enhanced scientific literacy of its citizens, reaching a level of major developed nations in the early 21st century.
Aiming at the objectives set for the 11th Five-year period (2006-2010), the Outline proposes to raise the scientific literacy of the entire nation through working on selected populations, including teenagers, farmers, urban working people, and carders and public servants, in the course of implementing the concept of scientific development. Major efforts will be devoted to the construction of scientific education and training related infrastructures, developing and sharing of popular science resources, capacity building for S&T mass media, in an attempt to strengthen the activities in the areas. As a result, Chinese citizens will have more opportunities and means to raise their scientific literacy.
The Outline also points out that relevant policies and laws shall be prepared for implementing the action plan, with enhanced governmental and public input in raising people's scientific literacy, including expertise training and establishing a volunteer contingent for the purpose.
Soon after the publication of the Outline, a plan was drawn up for its implementation, which was divided up into nine projects, each of which would be directed by one or two ministries or organizations.
CAST is the lead organization in the project of science popularization infrastructure, and co-directs two other projects with the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Agriculture respectively, i.e. the project of development and sharing of science popularization and that of enhancing farmers' science literacy. CAST also participates in the other projects led by other organizations.