The constantly changing world and globalization together with problems and needs facing Thailand in these few decades stress the importance of S&T underlining social and economic issues. However, the role of S&T is not fully recognized or strongly supported by every sector of Thai society. And the public’s indifferent or negative attitude towards science and technology is recognized as an obstacle to the national development of science and technology as well as the development of Thai society.

Though “public understanding of science- PUS”, “public awareness of science- PAS”, “scientific literacy” or “scientific culture” are of great interest of many countries all over the world including Thailand, their meaning is not easily defined. This paper will put these terms under one umbrella of “public communication of science and technology”- PCST. It will focus on the investigation of PCST in Thailand in the effort to address national problems and needs on diversified issues.

Then, it will propose a framework to promote and to widen strategic approaches for PCST policies and practices in the light of what exists in Thailand with the perspective of a knowledge-based society. PCST aims at empowering people with knowledge outside the learning environment of classrooms or formal education. It tries to raise public awareness and/or understanding of science and technology with efforts to share specialized knowledge. The intention is to help people make sense out of the modern world in which science and technology have a vital role in influencing changes and our society. Knowledge is the key to allow people to be more aware of and to better understand S&T related issues that affect their life in every aspect . S&T are ingrained not only in the economic realms like industry, agriculture but also in health, environment, energy, education even arts and entertainment and help to raise standard of living including making our lives enjoyable. People are convinced, to a certain level, of the importance of S&T in everyday life and development of the nation as well as the benefit of knowledge, education and training. Hence, it is not necessary to replicate this discourse in this paper.

Till now, “public relations-PR” appears to be the dominant practice in the scientific community . PR mainly focuses on the outcome of good corporate images about S&T with the assumption that it will better the status of science and stimulate public awareness and as a consequence, will open the way to science literacy efforts in the public and the media. Though PR is a part of PCST, it is not all of it. One has to note the limits of the outcome of such policies in regards to the issue of entering into a “knowledge-based society”. New concepts and strategies are currently needed to step forward. PCST policies are more concerned to convey science and technology concepts effectively, and therefore focus on the target audience , the level of understanding, for example, and the means of communication. Then, it is more appropriate to break through the limits of PR policies and strategies. Yet PCST is not in opposition to PR. Good PCST can benefit PR. However, good PR does not automatically and necessarily benefit PCST. It can even cause a “ Perverse Effect” which results in lay people concluding that science is indeed an extremely complex area and meant for only wise people.

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 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

PCST in Thailand
PCST as an integrated concept & a new approach for knowledge-based society

Yuwanuch Tinnaluck   National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA)

The constantly changing world and globalization together with problems and needs facing Thailand in these few decades stress the importance of S&T underlining social and economic issues. However, the role of S&T is not fully recognized or strongly supported by every sector of Thai society. And the public’s indifferent or negative attitude towards science and technology is recognized as an obstacle to the national development of science and technology as well as the development of Thai society.

Though “public understanding of science- PUS”, “public awareness of science- PAS”, “scientific literacy” or “scientific culture” are of great interest of many countries all over the world including Thailand, their meaning is not easily defined. This paper will put these terms under one umbrella of “public communication of science and technology”- PCST. It will focus on the investigation of PCST in Thailand in the effort to address national problems and needs on diversified issues.

Then, it will propose a framework to promote and to widen strategic approaches for PCST policies and practices in the light of what exists in Thailand with the perspective of a knowledge-based society. PCST aims at empowering people with knowledge outside the learning environment of classrooms or formal education. It tries to raise public awareness and/or understanding of science and technology with efforts to share specialized knowledge. The intention is to help people make sense out of the modern world in which science and technology have a vital role in influencing changes and our society. Knowledge is the key to allow people to be more aware of and to better understand S&T related issues that affect their life in every aspect . S&T are ingrained not only in the economic realms like industry, agriculture but also in health, environment, energy, education even arts and entertainment and help to raise standard of living including making our lives enjoyable. People are convinced, to a certain level, of the importance of S&T in everyday life and development of the nation as well as the benefit of knowledge, education and training. Hence, it is not necessary to replicate this discourse in this paper.

Till now, “public relations-PR” appears to be the dominant practice in the scientific community . PR mainly focuses on the outcome of good corporate images about S&T with the assumption that it will better the status of science and stimulate public awareness and as a consequence, will open the way to science literacy efforts in the public and the media. Though PR is a part of PCST, it is not all of it. One has to note the limits of the outcome of such policies in regards to the issue of entering into a “knowledge-based society”. New concepts and strategies are currently needed to step forward. PCST policies are more concerned to convey science and technology concepts effectively, and therefore focus on the target audience , the level of understanding, for example, and the means of communication. Then, it is more appropriate to break through the limits of PR policies and strategies. Yet PCST is not in opposition to PR. Good PCST can benefit PR. However, good PR does not automatically and necessarily benefit PCST. It can even cause a “ Perverse Effect” which results in lay people concluding that science is indeed an extremely complex area and meant for only wise people.

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