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The results of scientific research are intellectual assets for the human race and must be used to benefit as many people as possible. They must also be handed down for successive generations to use and develop. A variety of opportunities should therefore be provided for people to learn about science and technology. In the schools, science and technology education must be improved to stimulate children's interest and motivate them to learn. An understanding of science and technology must also be fostered through social education.
Article 19 of the Science and Technology Basic Law stipulates that the government shall "implement necessary policy measures to promote the learning of science and technology in school and social education, to enlighten the people in science and technology and to disseminate knowledge on science and technology, so that all Japanese people including the young can deepen their understanding of and interest in science and technology with every opportunity."
A key component of the Program for Educational Reform, which was presented to the Prime Minister by the Minister of Education, Science, Sports and Culture in January 1 997, was the "promotion of science and technology education to heighten the interest of juveniles in science and technology." MESSC is working to inform the public, especially young people, about the content and results of research and to improve support for learning based on the use of actual materials in museums and other facilities. Specific measures include increasing opportunities to open facilities at national universities and elsewhere to the public and enhancing the content of such programs.
As science and technology have advanced, adults, too, have shown growing interest in a broad range of cultural activities. At the same time, they face demands to acquire new knowledge to keep pace with technological innovation. For the people and society, these needs are closely interrelated and must be met in an integrated fashion. For this reason, it is important to achieve balanced progress in science and technology in all fields from the humanities and social sciences to the natural sciences.
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