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The relevance of biological knowledge for citizenship: A Singapore perspective
Biological education
Scientific literacy
Global citizenship
Issue Date: 
Lim, N., Tan, A. L., Lim, S., & Teng, P. (2017). The relevance of biological knowledge for citizenship: A Singapore perspective. In L. Leite, L. Dourado, A. S. Afonso & S. Morgado (Eds.), Contextualizing teaching to improve learning: The case of science and geography (pp. 3-24). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.
Biological knowledge for citizenship rests at the nexus of two important concepts -scientific literacy and citizenship education. Scientific literacy, the ability to make sense of and hence decisions related to scientific issues, operates under the broad construct of citizenship. Citizenship education is defined by UNESCO as "educating children, from early childhood, to become clear-thinking and enlightened citizens who participate in decisions concerning society". As society moves further into the 21st century, many of the challenges facing 'sustainable societies' require scientifically literate citizens to participate at multiple societal levels. At the international level, many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the world community have a scientific grounding in biology. This suggests that global citizenship education must take
cognizance of biological knowledge. Through the theoretical lens of scientific literacy, pressing biological issues of food security, nutrition, biodiversity decline, and climate change are discussed in the chapter, making explicit the importance of biological knowledge for responsible global citizenship. These issues affect citizens at the community and individual levels through decisions linked to matters like food waste,
diet, body mass index, and choice of food. Various learning approaches have been used to incorporate these matters into science curricula, such as through real-world learning.
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