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The Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) has approved its first strategy for promoting science literacy as a tool for development in the 22 Arab states.

The strategy, which took four years to prepare, was approved during the annual meeting of ALECSO's executive council, which took place in Tunis, Tunisia on 6 – 10 May.

The plans are wide-ranging, and include using television programmes, the Internet and printed publications, as well as science festivals and special events for schools to raise public understanding of science.

ALECSO will develop courses and workshops to help scientists communicate about their work and its historical, cultural and economic significance.

It will also create an online database of educational resources, including suggestions for laboratory experiments and science trips for schools.

Bahlul Eliagoubi, the director of science and scientific research programme at ALECSO, says the strategy will ensure that every young Arab is scientifically literate by the time they reach adulthood.

The strategy emphasises the importance of holding scientific meetings in the Arab world to promote science and technology as tools for development.

Amin Kalak, ALECSO's strategy coordinator, told SciDev.Net that a network of Arab science communicators and organisations with an interest in the public communication of science would be set up to share ideas and information.

He said an Arab Council for Science and Technology Culture would also be formed to monitor the activities and suggest possible changes in its programmes.

Specialists from Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Tunisia among others prepared the strategy. It was supported and coordinated by ALECSO with partial funding from the Libyan National Bureau for Research and Development and Libya-based World Islamic Call Organisation.

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