The "Science Education Enters Community" is part of the "Four Enters" initiative sponsored and organized by the Central Office for Cultural and Ethical Progress (COCEP) and nine other departments in 2002. It is deployed and implemented by COCEP and the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST). The “Four Enters” means sending science education, culture and sports, law and health into communities.
China Research Institute for Science Popularization (CRISP) carried out a nationwide survey at the end of 2005 on the implementation of "Science Education Enters Community" activity. The questionnaire survey was conducted in 62 communities that had won the title of "National Outstanding Collective"in 2005. Case studies were also carried out on science popularization work in some urban communities.
The survey indicates that remarkable result has been achieved since the "Science Education Enters Community" activity was launched in 2002.
I. The activity has promoted regularity, broad participation and socialization of the science popularization activities in communities and has stimulated enthusiasm in the community residents to participate in science activities.
During the period 2002-2005, some 67,000 large-scale "Science Education Enters Community" activities were conducted at the city or county level and above, with a total number of some 160 million people/times participating. In these activities, CAST took the responsibility of coordinating the departments concerned, and provided popular science books and audio-visual materials, such as films and TV programs in CDs to communities (including families). Special programs were broadcast on local TV and radio stations and regular columns were opened in local newspapers.
Lectures, forums, saloons and training programs are all carried out as forms of as this activity. The majority of community residents expressed their approval to this type of science communication.
II. It has promoted the building of the community science popularization teams, facilities and resources, and has strengthened the ability in implementing communities' science popularization service.
The survey showed that a contingent of community science popularization personnel, including 232 thousand full-time and part-time management personnel and 949 thousand volunteers, has been formed by the end of 2005. This contingent has played an increasingly more important role in guiding community residents into various activities and performing science popularization functions.
Based on the "Science Education Enters Community", more importance has been attached to the building of science popularization facilities and resources. By 2005, more than 6000 popular science galleries had been set up. The number of communities that own integrated science workshops (including youth science workshops) has reached 20,898. 4,420 communities have their own websites. In this way the ability to perform science popularization function has been strongly enhanced.
There is one thing that is worthy of mentioning: another survey completed by the Children and Youth Science Center of CAST (CYSCC) and CRISP in 2006 shows that some 100 out-of-school children and youth science workshops, 50% of them located in communities, have been set up nation-widely during the past 5 years. Among the 95 such science workshops surveyed, 40% are subsidized mainly by CYSCC and jointly funded by government and CAST branches at all level as well as all circles of society. Another 52.6% are subsidized mainly by CYSCC branches and jointly funded by government and CAST branches below municipal level. The construction and maintenance of the remaining 7.4% are sponsored by related government departments, business enterprises, and other science educational institutions.
III. It has facilitated the practice of "The Law of the People's Republic of China on Science Popularization", and a new situation in which special attention is given to science popularization in communities is taking shape.
The practice of the "Science Education Enters Community" facilitates the implementation of "The Science Popularization Law ". The over-all environment for community science popularization has been improved. Thanks to the efforts of CAST and its branches at all levels to win over support from local governments, a series of government policies aiming to strengthen science popularization have been issued.
The long-existing problem of fund insufficiency in science popularization has considerably solved. The survey shows that by the end of 2005, over 16,000 communities had received financial support from the higher-level governments earmarked for science popularization. This number accounts for 20.7% of the total number of communities across the country. From 2002 to 2005, an accumulation of RMB 260 million yuan (US$32 million) has been subsidized by CAST and its branches at all levels, and RMB 520 million yuan from all circles of the society.
IV. It has offered opportunities for community residents to participate in science popularization activities and has met their need for science, thus has facilitated the improvement of their science literacy.
According to a questionnaire survey made by CRISP to some urban community residents in Shanghai, Wuhan and Kunming, when asked "Have you ever taken part in community science popularization activities, such as lectures, saloons, or workshops, in which scientists or experts act as main communicators?", 79.7% of the people answered "yes".
The survey also reveals the following result: In terms of the residents' motivation in participating in science popularization, 58.3% of the people questioned thought their purpose to "acquire some knowledge about medical care and health" had been realized. 49.7% thought their aims to "learn how to use science and technology to solve every-day problems" had been reached; 40% proved that "they had realized their purpose to learn about Nature and environmental protection". The above data indicates that science popularization activities closely related to people's lives have met the need of about half of the citizens.