The late 20th century and beginning of 21st century have witnessed unprecedented rapid economic development due to advances in technology and globalization. In response to this development, educationists and political leaders worldwide are increasingly placing emphasis on developing scientific literacy. This also is the case in India with science education influenced by educational reform, in which the goals of science education are shaped by the notion of scientific literacy. Indian science education emphasizes scientific knowledge, the nature of science, and relationship between science, technology and society. This paper sets out to provide an overview of the meaning of scientific literacy and the trend towards relating scientific literacy to skills and values appropriate for responsible citizen. The emphasis on enhancing scientific literacy is placed through the development of personal attributes and the acquisition of socio-scientific skills and values. Furthermore perspective of components like relevance, teaching approach and rationales for improving scientific literacy is presented. Scientific literacy is best achieved by seeing science education as ‘education through science’ as opposed to ‘science through education’.
Key words: scientific literacy, conceptualization, relevance, rationales, socio-scientific issues, multidimensional.