At 10 am on 1 March 2021, Ju Chuanjin, vice president of the Open University of China (OUC), gave “The First Class” of the spring semester, entitled “Hold High the Banner to Press Ahead and Try to Be Confident and Self-Reliant,” to both the OUC system and the public via live video broadcast.The new journey of the 2021 spring semester thus started with him taking the lead.
Ju Chuanjin proposed that the students, staff, and teachers of the OUC should be aware of the OUC’s glorious history and inherit and pass on the OUC’s culture. In the 40 years since its establishment, the OUC has made outstanding achievements under the guidance of the Party and state leadership. The fundamental task of fostering virtue through education has been put into effect, and the OUC university system has achieved stable performance with good growth momentum. An “Internet Plus University" framework has taken shape, educational services have been further expanded, new breakthroughs have been made in the construction of the credit bank, and solid progress has been made in international exchanges and cooperation and scientific research. The OUC represents a “new” system, philosophy, approach, and platform. It is a new type of university without “walls.” As part of its long-term exploration and struggle, the OUC has formed a cohesive culture of forging ahead characterised by “firm beliefs, strict implementation, resolute commitment, hard work, solidarity, and strict self-discipline”.
Ju Chuanjin underlined that the OUC has always adhered to a school-running concept that best leverages the skills of well-known teachers. The university has employed experts and professors from national key universities, scientific research institutes, and frontline industries as editors-in-chief and main lecturers across a range of disciplines. The university adheres to an educational concept “oriented towards grassroots communities, rural areas, industries, and remote and ethnic minority areas” by rooting itself in the vast land of China and making lifelong education its mission. The university places emphasis on farmers, non-commissioned officers, disabled persons, ethnic minorities, older adults, women, and other specific groups. Having selected quality national-level educational resources and built public service platforms for education, the OUC has carried out programmes such as “One College Student Per Village,” “distance education for disabled persons,” “distance education for non-commissioned officers,” “education for minority ethnic groups,” and the “Assistance Plan for the Cultivation and Development of New Industrial Workers.” As a result, it has cultivated a large number of outstanding students across various trades and industries, and has made positive contributions to the improvement of academic qualifications and the quality of talents at the grassroots level and in remote areas, as well as to the realisation of equal access to education.
Ju Chuanjin reviewed the history of the development of the OUC’s open and inclusive university culture and called on its staff and students to be confident and self-reliant. He said that from the moment of its inception, the OUC has created an atmosphere characterised by confidence, self-reliance, hard work, and ambition by building on the “three-step strategy” and the “1233 project,” as well as its transition from scaled development to high-quality development over the past century. Guided by the motto “respecting learning and making it universally beneficial, providing education for all people with no distinctions” and adhering to the educational concept of “openness, responsibility, quality, diversity, and internationalisation,” the OUC has 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 OUC has stepped up its efforts to realise the “four transformations,” i.e., from seeking quantity to strengthening quality, from a focus on qualifications to one on knowledge, from providing degrees to enhancing skills, and from prioritising online teaching to the integrated development of online and offline teaching. He pointed out that the people of the OUC have embodied the OUC spirit in their struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic, displayed the wisdom of the OUC in skill competitions, and contributed to the OUC’s strength in their work. The OUC Comprehensive Reform Plan proposed that the OUC should explore a “collective” operation mode. An operational structure based on "collectivisation" will promote intensive sharing and efficient operation, giving impetus to the interconnection of the OUC system to create an OUC culture of “synergised endeavour” with modern information technology.
Finally, Ju Chuanjin proposed that the teachers, staff, and students of the OUC strengthen their cultural confidence and write a new chapter for OUC culture in the new era. After the construction of an education system serving the lifelong learning for all was explicitly put forward at the Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, the State Council also clearly proposed the development of “Internet Plus Education.” It is necessary to put into effect the major decisions and deployments of the Ministry of Education concerning the improvement of continuing education and the related policies and projects of open universities in the new era. The OUC is facing a rare historical opportunity. He called on the people of the OUC people unite to make tenacious progress, to seize the opportunity to strengthen areas of weakness, and to achieve new leapfrog development. He encouraged the students to once again study and learn from the six hopes that General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward for the youth of the new era at the meeting commemorating the 100th anniversary of the May 4th Movement in 2019. They should have lofty ideals, love their motherland, assume the responsibility of the times, press ahead with courage, develop excellent skills, and practice moral character.
The OUC headquarters, branches, and schools all organised for their teachers and students to watch “The First Class: Hold High the Banner to Press Ahead and Try to Be Confident and Self-Reliant” via various online channels, including the OUC cloud classroom. Around 780,000 people watched the live class. After the class, teachers and students in various places exchanged their thoughts and feedback via email and other platforms. Many teachers and students said that they had a deeper understanding of OUC culture after the class, and they have enhanced the sense of confidence and pride. The teachers of the OUC system said that “The First Class” inspired strong affection for their country, and that they would turn this deep affection into the motivation to do their job well and contribute to the construction of the university. Students around the country said that "The First Class” enhanced their sense of mission, and that they will set lofty ideals, strive to developed excellent skills, train their moral character through hard work, and contribute to China’s development by shouldering the responsibility of the times.
OUC branches watching “The First Class” together
Students from different industries watching “The First Class” in their spare time
By OUC Academic Affairs Department