The Open University of China (OUC) is a modern higher education institution that operates under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Education of China (MOE). With a mission to promote lifelong learning for everyone, it is dedicated to providing open education across the nation. Supported by modern information technology and characterised by the "Internet Plus" initiative, the OUC offers both degree and non-degree education. It coordinates the development of the national open education system, provides professional guidance, and supports open education operations throughout China. Additionally, the OUC focuses on developing a public service platform for lifelong learning. It is committed to offering lifelong educational opportunities and services to all, supporting the goal that "Everyone can study whenever and wherever they want to."

The predecessor of the OUC was the China Central Radio and TV University (CCRTVU). In February 1978, initiated and approved by Comrade Deng Xiaoping, the CCRTVU was established by drawing on the successful experiences of international open universities. This marked a new chapter in the development of distance higher education in China's educational history. On 6 February 1979, the CCRTVU and the radio and TV universities (RTVUs) in 28 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly administered by the Central Government were launched simultaneously. China Central Television (CCTV) broadcast the opening ceremony live nationwide. On 8 February  of the same year, the CCRTVU officially began broadcasting televised courses through CCTV. Hua Luogeng, a mathematician, delivered the first class titled "Introduction to Advanced Mathematics." Together with the 44 provincial-level RTVUs established subsequently nationwide, along with their affiliated RTVU branches and workstations, the CCRTVU forms the world's largest distance education system.

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Radio and Television Universities (RTVUs) have embarked on a new era of transformation and development. On 21 June 2012, the state decided to establish the Open University of China (OUC) based on the foundation of the CCRTVU. The OUC was officially inaugurated on 31 July 2012, at the Great Hall of the People. On 31 August 2020, the Ministry of Education (MOE) issued the OUC Comprehensive Reform Plan, which addresses challenges such as educational positioning, system establishment, and quality assurance at the OUC. This plan promotes the comprehensive transformation and development of the OUC and RTVUs nationwide in this new era. On 18 November 2021, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council released The Guideline on Strengthening the Work on Ageing in the New Era, which explicitly states that the groundwork for establishing the Seniors University of China (SUC) will be based at the OUC, aiming to create a national platform for sharing educational resources for the elderly and providing public services. The State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform approved the inauguration of the SUC at the OUC on 6 September 2022. The SUC was officially unveiled on 3 March 2023.

The mission of the OUC (SUC) is to actively support the country's major development strategies, enhance national quality, and promote educational equity. It is dedicated to fostering synergistic innovations across higher education, vocational education, and continuing education, ensuring both vertical alignment and horizontal integration at all levels of diverse educational formats. The goal is to contribute to the development of an education system that supports lifelong learning for everyone, thereby building a society and country where lifelong learning is universally pursued. The OUC (SUC) operates as a modern higher education institution under the direct administration of the MOE, and also serves as a directly affiliated public government institution. The OUC's management mechanism is characterised by "two-level coordination and four-level operation." It embraces an educational philosophy of "openness, responsibility, quality, diversity, and internationalisation," with the aim of transforming into a major platform for lifelong education, online education, flexible education, and international cooperation within China. As such, it can become a strong pillar in serving a society and country dedicated to learning, and strive to establish itself as a world-class open university with Chinese characteristics and as a new type of university with significant influence in the field of global open education. In line with the requirements of "Completing the layout in the inaugural year, taking shape in the second year, and gaining momentum for development in the third year," the SUC aims to achieve the initial formation of a new-style seniors university by 2025. This will be characterised by clear educational positioning, distinctive educational characteristics, resources open for sharing, and flexible learning methods. In alignment with China's national conditions, the SUC aims to lead the innovative development of elderly education with a certain international influence. To this end, a nationwide SUC education service network will be substantially developed.

Looking ahead, the OUC (SUC) will adhere to the principles of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and will follow the strong leadership of the MOE's Leading Party Group. It will commit to the fundamental task of fostering virtue through education, maintain a sharp focus on acting on "A Leading Country in Education, the OUC’s Role," and respond effectively to the two historical propositions of "Open Education and the Construction of a Learning-oriented Society." The university will ensure the implementation of the guidelines set forth in key documents, including The OUC Comprehensive Reform Plan, The 14th Five-Year Plan for the Development of the OUC, and The Preparation Work Plan for the Establishment of the SUC, across all fronts. The university will focus on "developing the fundamentals and expanding into new areas." Specifically, it will implement the "1234" strategy, which emphasises its strategic commitment to supporting the development of a learning-oriented society. This strategy prioritizes both degree education and non-degree education equally; it aims for excellence and quality improvement in open education, optimizes and strengthens education for the elderly, and explores the establishment of a digital university. Additionally, it promotes "four transformations," builds "four platforms," and develops two major core competencies in open education digital resources and innovative applications of digital technology. This initiative will accelerate the university's progress toward becoming a world-class open university with Chinese characteristics, providing strong support for building a society and country of learning where lifelong learning is pursued by all. Through these efforts, the university aims to make new and significant contributions to the strengthening of the nation and the great cause of national rejuvenation.   


Updated: April 2024