At 9 A.M. on the morning of 11th September 2023, Party member and Vice President of the Open University of China (OUC) Li Song delivered the inaugural lecture for the autumn semester.

Titled “Uphold Core Principles and Courageously Accept Responsibility; Diligently Harness Our Potential to Realise Our True Value”, the lecture was broadcast live to students within the OUC system, the teaching faculty of the OUC, and the general public, marking the commencement of the 2023 academic term.

Li Song stated that the Open University of China (OUC) is a contemporary higher education institution dedicated to the promotion of lifelong learning across China. The OUC's educational framework spans both urban and rural regions, structured across four tiers: the OUC headquarters, branches, schools, and study centres. In collaboration with relevant governmental ministries, commissions, and industries, the OUC has established 13 industry and corporate colleges, 12 specialised schools, and over 3,000 study centres nationwide. Over the past four decades, the OUC has consistently been innovative and proactive, aligning itself with China's economic growth, social progress, and educational reform. It has significantly broadened public access to higher education, fostering the spread of higher education throughout China. This initiative has cultivated numerous distinguished alumni and amassed a cadre of top-tier educators, earning extensive international acclaim in the process. In this modern era, the OUC's mandate is to ensure equitable access to high-quality educational resources for all aspiring higher education students. Embracing the principle that learning can occur anytime and anywhere, the OUC is committed to providing comprehensive learning support via diverse channels, empowering students to remain contemporary in a society that values lifelong learning.

Li emphasised that, as students of the OUC in this new era, we must foreground patriotism and commit ourselves to a diligent pursuit of knowledge. Patriotism, characterised by national self-confidence and a profound sense of national pride, serves as the foundational pillar propelling the Chinese nation forward. It is not merely a sentiment but a veritable source of individual virtue and merit. Li urged us all to unite in our endeavours, harnessing our ambition, expansive perspectives, and unwavering work ethic. By aligning our personal aspirations with the overarching objective of national rejuvenation, we can actively contribute to the realisation of a modernised, powerful nation.

At the OUC, he emphasised the imperative of actively pursuing knowledge, bolstering our consciousness towards education, and enhancing our overall intellectual caliber. He urged students to be proactive in their educational pursuits and to dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to knowledge acquisition. The importance of fostering an autonomous learning habit was underscored, advocating for a learn-practice approach where learning is tailored to one's needs, leading to self-improvement. Given the resources provided by the OUC, students should seize the opportunity for self-directed learning. He further championed the principle of lifelong learning, maintaining commendable study habits, resisting external distractions, remaining concentrated, and perpetually assimilating new knowledge, embracing novel concepts, and acquiring contemporary skills.

He argued that we are currently witnessing global transformations of a magnitude unparalleled in the past century. Consequently, it's imperative for us to align with these evolving times, attune to contemporary needs, address pressing issues of our era, and remain up-to-date. He exhorted the students to observe the following guidelines:

  1. Sensitivity to Changes: One must be perceptive to shifts in the environment and understand the demands of the present.
  2. Scientific Approach to Change: It's crucial to respond to these changes with a methodical approach, maintaining a focus on holistic development. By doing so, one can truly thrive in this new era and aspire for excellence.
  3. Proactivity in Seeking Change: It's essential to be proactive in seeking out transformative opportunities to actualize one's potential. Embrace your aspirations with a pragmatic approach, and strive for personal advancements stemming from active adaptability."

Ultimately, he expressed a wish for everyone to have a dream to pursue and to move forward without regrets in life or fear of the future. He hoped that in the endeavour to build a strong nation, everyone remains true to their original purpose, bravely assumes responsibility, and works diligently to realise their full potential and value.

The OUC's headquarters, branches, and affiliated schools coordinated with their faculty and student body to access the lecture through various online platforms, drawing in over 1.87 million viewers. Post-lecture discussions were held across all branches and schools, fostering a spirited exchange of ideas and perspectives. Feedback suggests that the inaugural lecture of each semester, referred to as the "first class" at the OUC, not only showcased the depth and warmth of open education but also fostered a strengthened sense of belonging and pride within the OUC community. This sentiment inspires faculty and students to remain true to their foundational commitments, embrace their roles with sincerity, and actively pursue excellence and innovation. Faculty within the OUC system have shared that the lecture was immensely enlightening and motivating, expressing a renewed commitment to amplify their roles as educators. They emphasised the importance of contributing to the nation's growth and rejuvenation from their respective positions. Similarly, students from across the country conveyed that the lecture deeply resonated with them, fueling a desire to continuously adapt and learn. They expressed their intentions to align their personal aspirations with the broader vision of national progress, ensuring they actively contribute to the development of a modern and influential nation.

Students from OUC headquarters, its branches, affiliated schools, and study centres across various industries commence the new semester with their first class.


By Yu Qijing, OUC