From 25-30th July 2018, a five-person delegation led by Yang Zhijian, president of the OUC Party Committee, visited the OUT and attended the opening ceremony of the JTC established by the OUC and the OUT. They also signed an agreement on the joint construction of the teaching centre and carried out an investigation into the operation of the JTC, which has continuously promoted comprehensive cooperation between the two universities.

The delegation from the Open University of China (OUC) attending the opening ceremony of the Joint Learning Centre (JLC)

OUC president Yang Zhijian exchanging a cooperation agreement with Elifas T. Bisanda, vice chancellor of the Open University of Tanzania (OUT)

President Yang Zhijian, together with Minister Xu Chen and other invited guests, unveiling the JLC

On 27th July, the opening ceremony was held in Dodoma, the capital city of Tanzania. The ceremony was attended by more than 100 people, including officials from the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology of Tanzania, Minister Xu Chen from the Chinese Embassy in Tanzania, members of the OUC delegation, vice chancellor of the OUT professor Elifas T. Bisanda, representatives of the faculty and staff of the OUT, and the Tanzanian news media.

Yang Zhijian mentioned in his speech that this year is the 5th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by the Chinese government. Over the past five years, the construction of the "Belt and Road" has transformed from concept to action and from vision to reality, and fruitful results have been achieved. The successful establishment and operation of the JTC between the two universities embodies the close friendship and cooperation between China and Tanzania in the field of education and reflects the OUC's active implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Yang Zhijian pointed out that when President Xi Jinping attended the BRICS Forum this year, he proposed "Discussing the Development Plans and Raising Solidarity and Cooperation with Developing Countries to New Heights,” emphasising the need to strengthen cooperation with African countries. In order to carry out the instructions of President Xi, during the "13th Five-Year" period, the OUC will continue to work with countries along the Belt and Road Initiative, especially developing countries in Asia and Africa, and cooperate on the construction of OUC overseas schools. The schools will use the “One Learning Centre with Several Sub-Centres” teaching model and engage in providing hardware and software, building teaching resources, and training a teaching team for its sub-centres. The OUC will continue to actively devote itself to the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries, and create a positive, humanistic atmosphere.

Yang Zhijian emphasised that "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." At the ceremony, the representatives of the universities of China and Tanzania gathered together to celebrate the establishment of the JLC, which is only the beginning of their cooperation. It is hoped that the universities will continue to work together to deepen cooperation, promote the development of the common cause, and achieve the expected goals of the cooperation.

President Yang Zhijian then signed the Agreement on the Establishment of a Joint Learning Centre between the OUC and OUT on behalf of the OUC, alongside his counterpart, vice chancellor of the OUT, professor Elifas T. Bisanda.

In his speech, professor Elifas T. Bisanda said that the establishment of the JLC symbolises the start of a wonderful cooperation between the two sides. The goal for the OUT’s future development is to make the university an open University for Africa. In order to achieve this goal, it is hoped that the OUC will continue to provide strong support for the OUT and carry out extensive inter-university exchanges.

Minister Xu Chen praised the cooperation in his speech. He believes that the cooperation has made important contributions to consolidating and developing the friendship and good feeling between China and Tanzania.

After attending the opening ceremony of the JLC in Dodoma, the OUC delegation visited the JLC at the OUT’s headquarters in Dar es Salaam.

In March 2017, Yang Xiaotang, vice president of the OUC Party Committee, was invited to take a team to visit the OUT. The two universities signed a memorandum of cooperation, which included scientific research, language teaching, and the establishment of an overseas learning centre. In December 2017, a team made up of OUT honorary president and former Prime Minister of Tanzania, H. E. Pingda, and the former Ambassador of China to Tanzania, Mr. Lv Youqing, visited the OUC. During the visit, the two sides held a deep discussion and reached a consensus on cooperation.

The purpose of the visit led by Yang Zhijian is to further implement the cooperation agreement signed by the two universities in March 2017 and to explore new ways of comprehensively promoting in-depth cooperation. The JLC between the OUC and OUT is headquartered in Dar es Salaam, with its first sub-teaching centre in the Dodoma region. The OUC has provided 107 computers, 110 sets of desks and chairs, and equipment needed to assemble two cloud classrooms, all free of charge, and has sent technicians to the OUT for on-site installation and adjustment. In the beginning, the JLC will focus on teaching Chinese as a foreign language, using an online and offline integrated teaching method, and then gradually expand to cover other majors and promote the joint development of both degree and non-degree education. To date, the development and assembly of a Chinese language teaching platform and teaching resources has been completed.

By Chen Haishan,OUC