On 3 November 2023, a delegation from the Open University, UK (OUUK), led by Professor Kevin Shakesheff, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of OUUK, paid a visit to the Open University of China (OUC).

Wang Qiming, Party Committee secretary and president of OUC, and other leaders met with the guests from the UK. Dong Zhenhua, director of the Higher Continuing Education Division of the Department of Vocational and Adult Education of the Ministry of Education (MOE), China, and Fan Xianrui, Party Committee member and vice president of OUC, attended the exchange meeting. Representatives from relevant departments, including the International Department, Faculty of Foreign Languages, and Lifelong Education Research Institute, participated in the meeting. The exchange meeting was chaired by Shi Yunzhi, deputy director of the International Department.


Fan Xianrui warmly welcomed the delegation from the OUUK, highlighting that open universities represent an innovative venture in the realm of global education that has significantly shaped the educational landscape since their inception in the 1970s. She noted that the OUUK, as the cradle of this educational movement, has made remarkable contributions to the evolution of open education worldwide. The OUC has greatly benefited from the OUUK's successful practices throughout its operations.

Reflecting on over two decades of collaboration between the two institutions, she recounted their deep-seated partnership spanning curriculum development, teacher training, academic exchanges, and joint research initiatives. Fan Xianrui expressed her desire for both universities to enhance policy dialogue and coordination further, to expand the sharing of educational resources and collaborative efforts, to foster educational innovation, and to intensify cultural and academic exchanges. By doing so, they would support the pursuit of lifelong education and play a pivotal role in forging a united global community.

Dong Zhenhua outlined China's legal and institutional framework, efforts in coordinating innovative collaboration between vocational education, higher education, and continuing education, and key measures and recent strides in the construction of a learning society and country. Dong expressed his aspiration for the OUC to bolster international exchange and collaboration, harnessing next-generation information technologies to refresh educational concepts, revolutionize learning models, streamline governance, elevate standards, and ensure accessibility. His vision is to create more open, adaptable educational systems and learning strategies that cater to everyone, positioning the OUC at the forefront of promoting continuous education and the development of a learning-oriented society.


Kevin Shakesheff spoke about the OUUK's trailblazing work and creative endeavours in distance education. He highlighted how artificial intelligence, a cutting-edge technology, has been extensively incorporated into the educational sector, steering it towards more personalized and focused growth. The OUC, as a key collaborator of the OUUK, possesses vast opportunities for joint efforts. In this artificial intelligence era, he expressed his aspiration for both institutions to intensify their partnership, broaden people-to-people interactions, and carry out a greater number of cooperative initiatives.


Xiong Ying, vice dean of the Faculty of Foreign Languages, shared insights on the experiences and accomplishments in the realm of "Artificial Intelligence Empowering Smart English Teaching Reform." Du Ruo, deputy director of the Lifelong Education Research Institute, discussed the array of research undertaken by their institute. From the OUUK, Viren Patel, director of Employers and Partnerships; Kan Qian, director of the OUUK Online Confucius Institute; and Lin Lin, the OUUK representative in China, engaged in fruitful discussions with counterparts at the OUC. Their dialogues spanned a host of topics including master's level education, quality assessment standards in British higher education, teacher training, academic exchanges, as well as collaboration in specialized majors and scholarly research.

The OUUK delegation from the UK also visited the OUC's "Internet+" University Exhibition Centre.