From 12-16 December 2020, the Open University of China (OUC) held a senior study tour workshop on education for older adults in Baoshan City, Yunnan Province.

Li Linshu, vice president of the OUC; Jia Dezhong, member of the Standing Committee of Baoshan Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China and vice mayor of Baoshan City; and Song Guangxing, vice mayor of Baoshan City, along with other leaders, attended the opening ceremony. Thirty-two leaders and backbone teachers of education for older adults from the open university system participated in the training.

At the opening ceremony, an announcement was made about the establishment of a Special Study Tour Committee of the Older Adult Coordination Association of the Open University of China. Yunnan Baoshan Open University and the Nanping Branch of Fujian Open University were bestowed with the first batch of centres for study tours of the Open University for Older Adults.

Li Linshu pointed out that at present, the current OUC is in a critical period of reform and development. In line with the requirements of The OUC Comprehensive Reform Plan approved by the Leading Party Group of the Ministry of Education, the OUC will become a major platform for lifelong education in China, a major platform for online education, a platform for flexible education, and a platform for external cooperation. The “strategy to develop a quality and strong university for older adults.” as one of the three major strategies for the future development of the OUC, should focus on the key word “health preservation and study tour.” The study tour is a good start on the road to achieving the integrated development of “health care, preservation, learning and traveling.” On the one hand, the allocation of local resources, such as health, care for older adults, culture, and tourism, can be optimised through collaboration in the open university system, and on the other hand, a market-oriented operation mechanism can be introduced to stimulate the organisational vitality of all parties for the cooperative promotion of study tour programmes for older adults.

By closely focusing on the core objective of the integrated development of “health care, preservation, learning, and traveling,” director Wen Shuyu and professor Liu Caimei from the Open University for Older Adults, general manager Yang Shoujun and vice general manager Jiang Haiyan from OUC Bell & Horn Education and Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd., vice president Lan Tian, and senior teacher of tourism Li Lijun from the Baoshan Open School, were invited to the workshop to give themed lectures on the extension and meaning of policies on “health preservation and study tour,” the operation and management of study tour projects for older adults, the design of study tour products and courses, and risk prevention and safety management. A number of experts were also invited to the workshop to give field presentations of the courses, including Li Weiguo, a deputy to the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) and 12th generation inheritor of the intangible cultural heritage technique, “Yongzi” (a technique to make black and white pieces for the weiqi game), and Li Genzhi, a winner of the “Starlight Award” for Chinese television and founder of Yuanzhengyuan Culture Company. A strong atmosphere integrating “learning and practice” and “review and innovation” was created based on teaching experience, real-time discussion, mutual learning, and contrast and inspiration.

The graduation ceremony was also a platform to show the achievements of the workshop. Teachers representatives participated in the training, completed a road show of the study tour products, and expounded their experiences. Everyone expressed their own views, spoke freely, exchanged experiences on the design of study tour courses, shared regional resources, discussed methods of organising teaching activities, and put forward a number of pioneering problems from the perspective of their own teaching and work practice. In the course of the comprehensive review, it was agreed that a genuine learning chain characterised by learning for practice and mutual assistance was formulated at the senior workshop through special course sharing and complete case study. The group designed their own study tour products based on a preliminary understanding of the management of study tour projects for older adults and resource integration and the constant improvement opportunities they obtained by listening to the views of experts and peers on their designed achievements.

At the workshop, it was indicated that the Open University for Older Adults will create a 2021 curriculum and work plan for study tours for older adults by building on the existing work of the study tours for older adults and the study tour products selected by the workshop. It will actively explore a linked work model and mechanism for the OUC system and promote the work of “health care, preservation, learning, and traveling” in an orderly way.

By Jiang Xiaoyan , OUC