The 1,817th session of seminar on backbone tutors for elderly education held by the OUC was convened on 18 September 2018.

Deputy director of the National Working Commission on Ageing, Wu Yushao; vice president of the OUC, Liu Chen, director of the Institute of Population Research of Peking University, Chen Gong; president of Beijing Normal University for Older Adults, Wang Bin; and chairman of PSM Foundation, Zhang gave, attended the opening ceremony. They, together with representatives of the OUC system, made keynote reports to the trainees of the seminar and exchanged views and experience in aspects such as the ageing trend and policy interpretation, understanding the characteristics of the ageing population, and the theoretical research and innovative practice of elderly education.

Vice president of the OUC, Liu Chen, delivered a report entitled Work Hand in Hand, Achieve Innovative Development, and Create a New Pattern for Distance Education for the Elderly, in which he introduced the construction situation of the OUC for Older Adults to the trainees.

The key to positively and effectively increasing the supply of elderly education and expanding implementation channels for elderly education lies in developing distance elderly education, bringing the university for older adults the homes of older people, and working together with the social forces to complement each other's advantages.

The OUC founded the Open University for Older Adults in January 2015. It is a new type of university for the elderly, which adheres to the principle of school mission and concept socialisation, school system and mechanism diversification, on-demand teaching design and content, and advanced teaching methods and means. It is designed to serve older adults and pension service practitioners through its innovative model. It is committed to using joint school operation and systematic school running to build four school organisation systems: the OUC system, the university for older adults system, the pension agency (corporation) system, and the direct management and mutual building system. Through the learning website of the open university for older adults, the China Elderly Education website, the Pension Service Practitioners Training Platform, apps, and the new media matrix, it has carried out academic and non-academic training for older adults and related practitioners. In terms of resource construction, the Open University for Older Adults has collected nearly 200,000 minutes of high-quality digital learning resources from various channels, compiled and issued the Elderly Education Resource Catalogue (2017), and jointly developed five series of original and diverse content including Growth Record.

At present, the OUC is preparing to build the Healthy and Artistic Pension Service Experiential National Demonstration Centre. It hopes to build an “education-pension service composite" that caters to the education of the elderly and integrates advanced ideas and technology. It will develop elderly education products and service standards that can be copied and promoted, promoting the construction of a demonstration base for education for the elderly with local characteristics.

However, distance education for the elderly still faces many problems at present. For example, the school organisation system has not yet been created; the co-construction and sharing of platforms and learning resources has not yet been realised; the education teaching model for distance elderly education is in urgent need of exploration; and there is a lack of qualified teachers and relevant practitioners.

In the future, the OUC and its whole system should adhere to the concept of a new type of university for the elderly to promote the development of the Open University for Older Adults. With the joint efforts of various social forces, the OUC should focus on developing distance education for the elderly, making elderly education an important part of building a national learning and lifelong learning society, providing the elderly with platforms where they can enjoy continuing education and continuous learning services.

Reprinted from the Open University Alliance WeChat Official Account