On 20 June 2019, the Open University of China (OUC) held a symposium for famous teachers and experts at its Wukesong campus to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the OUC, showcase the achievements of the school since its establishment, and review the forty years of hard work.

At the meeting, eight famous teachers and experts, including Chen Dun, professor from the Beijing Normal University (BSU); Huang Zhenhua, professor from the University of International Business and Economics; Professor Zheng Weimin from Tsinghua University; Professor Yu Qiding from BSU; Professor Xu Zhihong from Capital Normal University; Professor Tang Lijun from Beijing Academy of Social Sciences; Professor Yan Jirong from Peking University (PU); and Professor Shang Shaomei from PU, were invited to attend the symposium. Yang Zhijian, secretary of the Party committee and president of the OUC, and Yang Xiaotang, OUC vice president, took the experts to visit the exhibition in the South Exhibition Hall and took a group photo to mark the occasion. Cao Guoyong, executive deputy secretary of the Party committee of the OUC; Yang Xiaotang, OUC vice president; and the heads, teacher representatives, and relevant personnel of academic faculties and the Learning Resources Department participated in the symposium, which was presided over by Yang Xiaotang.

Cao Guoyong gave a basic introduction to the OUC. He summarised the characteristics of the operations of the OUC from the aspects of "Facing the Masses,” "Renowned and Famous Teachers,” and "Relying on Science and Technology,” and summarised the main purpose of holding the symposium with the three keywords “Acknowledgements,” “Report,” and “Consultation." Cao Guoyong expressed his heartfelt thanks to the experts who attended the conference for their long-term support for the OUC and hopes that they will make more valuable comments and continue to care about and support the reform and development of the OUC. Cao Guoyong emphasised that over the past forty years, the OUC has made remarkable achievements and trained a large number of talented professionals to aid in social development. These achievements cannot be achieved without the strong support of experts and professors who act as chief editors or lecturers. The excellent teachers recruited by the OUC from across society will play a more important role in future work, leading discipline construction, promoting teaching reform, enhancing curriculum quality, and further improving the quality of learner development in the OUC.

Chen Dun and the seven other famous professors reviewed their experiences with the OUC. They said that they had gained a lot in the process of teaching cooperation and established a deep affinity and friendship with the OUC. At the same time, they said that they would continue to pay attention to and support the development of the OUC and that they hope to further expand the scope and depth of their cooperation with the OUC.

The experts at the meeting spoke about their impressions of the teaching and teaching models of the OUC, which have features such as "fostering virtue,” "famous and renowned teachers,” "supported by modern information technology,” and "anyone can learn anytime, anywhere.” They believe that the 40-year development process of the OUC has played an important role in improving the quality and education level of China as a whole and promoting the construction of a lifelong education system, which has cultivated a lot of talented professionals for the country.

The experts also gave suggestions for the future development of the OUC. They suggested that the OUC should continue to adhere to a development path with its own characteristics and also gave valuable advice on optimising the teaching process, adapting to the development of technology, strengthening team building, and improving the flexibility of running the university.

At the end of the symposium, Yang Xiaotang gave a concluding speech. He thanked the eight experts present at the meeting and the other experts and scholars who were not at the symposium but had contributed to the construction of the OUC. He asked relevant departments to seriously discuss and study the valuable suggestions put forward by the eight famous teachers after the meeting and to speed up the relevant work.

We should study the history of the OUC, inherit its spirit, sum up its achievements, and strengthen its confidence in running the school. The 40th anniversary of the founding of the OUC coincides with a critical period in its transformation. This is not only a milestone in the history of the development of the university, but also a new starting point for it to explore the future. On the basis of summing up the history, we should adhere to the ideas of "openness, responsibility, quality, diversity, and internationalisation" and carry out the motto "respecting learning, benefiting more people, and providing education for all people without discrimination,” so as to make continuous progress in the construction of this new university as part of the higher education system in China.

By Zhang Hongli and Yang Wei, OUC