On 14th April, 2018, the finals of the Open University of China (OUC) "My Learning Story" speech contest took place at the OUC’s Weishanzhuang campus.

Ge Weiwei, deputy inspector of the MOE Department of Vocational and Adult Education; Gao Yang, director of the Higher Continuing Education Division of the MOE Department of Vocational and Adult Education; and Liu Chengbin, a researcher for the Higher Education Division of the Beijing Municipal Education Commission, were present at the contest, and spoke with the participants. A total of more than 150 people, including OUC president Yang Zhijian, vice presidents Li Linshu and Liu Chen, deputy Party secretary Liu Xianghong, vice president Qi Yanwei, and representatives from the OUC headquarters and branches witnessed the contest.

1st Prize Winners

2nd Prize Winners

3rd Prize Winners

As a new type of university, oriented toward anyone engaged in any of a variety of industries, the OUC has established a network of schools across the country, supported by modern information technology and aiming to build a society that values lifelong learning for everyone. It adheres to the principle of cultivation of virtue, places students at the centre, and aims to stimulate their enthusiasm for learning, provide high-quality services, promote a positive, healthy, and inspiring university culture, and continuously enhancing the brand, quality, and reputation of the OUC.

In order to promote all of these features while giving students a chance to show their talents, the OUC launched the "My Learning Story" speech contest across the national school system in August of 2017. The contest lasted for eight months, with a total of 277 speeches given. In the end, 22 outstanding speeches were selected to enter the finals.

Unlike ordinary colleges and universities, the OUC, as a university open to anyone who wishes to attend, has a mission of meeting diverse and personal learning needs. Participants in this competition included the young, the elderly, and the physically disabled; industrial workers, farmers and police officers. Yet all of them were full of energy and passion as they told their learning stories, and conveyed the sense of belonging and attainment that the OUC and its new learning model had given them, and their happiness at being able to chase their dreams.

The contestants were calm and enthusiastic as they told their stories, and were greeted with applause, sometimes shocking members of the audience or bringing tears to their eyes. Three students ended up winning the 1st prize, including 80-year-old Tang Zhijie from Beijing RTVU, whose speech was entitled Never Too Old to Learn, Learning Makes you Younger; disabled student Zhang Xiaomin from Guangzhou RTVU, whose speech was entitled Though Disabled in Body, Healthy in Mind; and a kindergarten teacher from the Fujian RTVU, whose speech was entitled Don't Forget Your Heart, Let Beautiful Dreams Brighten Your Way. Six speeches came second, including Winning in Learning, Winning in Perseverance, delivered by a professional breeder from Zhejiang RTVU, Xiang Jizhong.

After the contest, OUC president Yang Zhijian delivered a speech. He first expressed his sincere gratitude towards the participants for their wonderful speeches. He said affectionately, "As outstanding representatives from various fields, you embody a full and invigorating positive energy, and the spirit of the OUC is perfectly represented in you." He pointed out that the mission and task of the OUC is to promote the formation of a society in which everyone is able to enjoy lifelong learning. Over the years, the school has been aiming at developing quality online education and explore the formation of its "Internet+" and "Integration of Six Networks" learner development models, which have received high praise from both outside and inside the university. He said, "I hope that our students will take pride in studying at the OUC. In the future, the OUC will be proud of your growth and achievements."

This speech contest has provided students from open universities all over the country a way to express themselves, and to demonstrate how the “lifelong learning” pursued by students at the OUC works in practice. At the same time, the competition has played a positive role in promoting the campus culture and brand image of the OUC, telling its story, and spreading its influence.

By Tian Suxia, Li Xiaoqiang, and Sun Fuwan, OUC
Photographer: Yu Zhangli and Zhuge Huanyu