Continuing education is repeatedly emphasised in reports from the 16th, 17th, and 18th CPC National Congresses. A major decision has been made “to conduct effective continuing education” programmes, appearing once more in Comrade Xi Jinping’s report Secure a Decisive Victory in Building a Prosperous Society in all Aspects - Strive for the Great Success of Chinese Socialism in a New Era, (called “the Report” hereafter) delivered at the 19th CPC National Congress.

The report lays out the numerous justifications for continuing education. Since the reform and opening of China, continuing education has flourished in China’s higher educational institutions, making significant contributions to promoting the well-rounded development of people, from various walks of life, and supporting economic and social progress. There are still seven areas in the overall development of continuing education that are still lacking: 1) awareness of its significance; 2) legal guarantees; 3) an important position in society; 4) competent authorities; 5) major and comprehensive strategies, policy measures, and funding guarantees; 6) a proper school operating philosophy; and, 7) pertinence and effectiveness. To this end, continuing education remains the weakest link among various kinds of education.

In this new era, the overall development of a labour force doesn’t agree with the needs for realising the Chinese dream. It is a difficult, historical problem to tackle. Furthermore, continuing education may also be further developed for effective improvement of China’s overall educational strength. This is a key decision, “to improve continuing education,” was made in a report from the 19th CPC National Congress.

The Report is profound, defining precisely continuing education’s great significance, special position, core philosophy, fundamental purpose, scientific guiding principle, historical opportunity, strategic task, quality requirements, opening to the outside world, and institutional mechanisms (a total of 10 essentials), which will improve continuing education in this new era. It’s a programmatic document that will add vitality to continuing educational nationwide, and aids a scientific understanding of the important proposition “why and how to improve continuing education, as well as what continuing education to shape.” It’s necessary to grasp the above “ten essentials” in light of the Report’s requirements to “eliminate all outdated thinking and ideas, and cure all institutional ailments.” The 19th CPC Congress’ Report aims to persevere with reform and innovation, increase our efforts in leveraging the massive potential of continuing education, and to better support the glorious cause of building a modern, powerful socialist country.

Essential Element #1: the Great Significance of Continuing Education

Amongst various types of education, continuing education most closely affects economic and social development, as it boasts “five distinctive advantages” in leveraging potential productivity. Attention to continuing education is precious in developed countries, and it is also one of the fundamental means for emerging economies to improve the quality of their human capital, leapfrogging their way past mid-level GDP.

Theodore W. Schultz, a contributor to Human Capital Theory, said, “Human capital is knowledge and skills.” Continuing education is the very type of education that can improve adults’ “knowledge and skills.” Schultz also said, “The improvement of human capital, such as people’s knowledge, capacity, and health, makes greater contribution to economic growth than the increase of materials and labour force.” Of the various types of education, continuing education has a special effect on improving the level of “people’s knowledge, capacity, and health” across the board. The strategic requirement said in the Report to “foster new growth areas and drivers of growth in human capital” will be met mainly by continuing education, because of its “five distinctive advantages.” The first advantage is it most closely drives economic and social development. As far as talent training and supporting the development of human capital are concerned, it requires little input, yet has a short cycle and rapid effect, and its contribution to boosting economic and social development. The second advantage is that it comprehensively integrates and extends all of what one has achieved during their lifelong education. The third advantage is that it plays a complementary role, filling in the gap created by a lack of regular school education. For example, it can effectively support university students facing difficulty finding jobs by improving their entrepreneurial innovative skills. The fourth advantage is that it has the redemptive function of paying off historical debts concerning educational equality. The fifth advantage is that it provides the closest to universal coverage for learners from all walks of life by offering suitable educational solutions through both formal and informal learning. Therefore, continuing education is a new driver of growth in this new era, and a huge force to leverage the potential national productivity, and act on the Report’s decision to “step up efforts in making China a talent-rich country.”

In the US, continuing education has been put in the same position as regular higher education. Facing a financial crisis, Barack H. Obama stated, “Continuing education is the key for the US to stand up once more.” Continuing education has become the fastest growing segment of higher education in America. A programme is offered at almost all universities and colleges, and one of the major components of university reform in America is to further expand learning opportunities for all of society.

In France, there is a Continuing Education Law, in which the responsibilities of universities to advance lifelong learning and continuing education are clearly defined. A permanent group under the leadership of the Prime Minister is in place to lead the formulation and implementation of continuing education policies. Representatives from all government ministries and commissions make up the national continuing education council, and administrative institutions of continuing education are also founded by administrative educational authorities at all levels.

The UK is reputed to be “the Kingdom of Continuing Education.” In 2006, the Department for Education and Skills published its white paper on continuing education, underscoring “the more forceful and systematic integration of agencies between higher education and continuing education.”

In Germany, the importance of continuing education is on par with regular higher education. As early as 1990, Deutscher Bundestag published its Future Education Policy: Education 2000,requiring higher education institutions to remain open to offering continuing education support in a balanced manner. In the past 10 years, the government’s expenditures on continuing education have increased 10 percent, surpassing the growth rate of regular education.

The above experiences illustrate that leveraging the power of continuing education is a fundamental measure of emerging economies, including China, to rapidly upgrade human capital.

Essential Element #2: Continuing Education

Continuing education, together with regular school education, makes up one of the indispensable vehicles that will vitalise China’s education, and it’s the last gigantic “rich ore” that can be further mined and developed to upgrade the overall strength of the nation’s education. It’s also a tremendous force that can be applied to “stepping up efforts to build a learning society,” and “stepping up efforts to make China a talent-rich country.”

Continuing education plays a decisive and indispensable role in the development of education nationwide. It serves adults who have received different levels of regular formal education, including the elderly. The number of those who receive continuing education is several times greater than that of those in regular schools. Continuing education, together with regular school education, must become one of the indispensable vehicles to vitalise China’s overall education.

In light of the Report’s clear requirement “to improve continuing education,” giving priority to developing educational institutions mentioned in the Report must also prioritize the development of continuing education. The requirement “to build a strongly educated country” should include “building a strong continuing education.” The Report requires developing “education that people are satisfied with,” and this should include not only regular education to the satisfaction of the 200-million plus young students, but also continuing education to the satisfaction of the many more adults who are no longer young. The Report requires accelerating the modernisation of education, and which should include continuing education.

The Report requires improving “the system of vocational education and training,” and continuing education is closely related to vocational education. The Report further requires that the vast majority of new members to urban and rural labour forces receive secondary education, and that increasing numbers receive higher education. An important principle underscored by the Report is “to promote integration of industry and education, as well as cooperation between enterprises and colleges.” This requires connecting industries and enterprises with continuing education programmes. At present, some universities fail to promote “integration of industry and education, as well as cooperation between enterprises and colleges” in their continuing education, which contributes to their inability to solve the “last mile” problem of serving enterprises and employers. The Report also requires a quicker pace “building Chinese universities into world-class universities.” Having world-class continuing education necessitates building world-class universities. For instance, for over 100 years, world-renowned universities such as Harvard, Oxford, and Cambridge have focused on continuing education.

Following the requirement to “improve continuing education” is “stepping up efforts to build a learning society.” This demonstrates clearly the special importance of continuing education in building a learning society. The chapter on “promoting the well-rounded development of all our people” touches on a fundamental issue concerning the realisation of “two centenary goals.” Such a sequence is of strong logical and scientific nature, which once again demonstrates the “exceptional” position of continuing education in the overall education cause.

Essential Element #3: Core Philosophy of Continuing Education

Continuing education’s core philosophy is lifelong learning; the lifelong education system is a pillar that supports a learning society; “lifelong learning” and “fostering virtue through education” are two main themes throughout the lifelong education system, with continuing education making up another significant element.

A serious grasp of Comrade Xi Jinping’s lifelong learning philosophy is conducive to understanding the Report’s important decision “to improve continuing education.”

It’s no accident that “continuing education” and “increasing efforts to build a learning society” were placed one after another. It shows that continuing education and a learning society complement one another. The key nature of a learning society is “lifelong learning for all.” A lifelong learning philosophy is an extremely important component of the educational ideas behind Xi Jinping’s thoughts regarding socialism with Chinese characteristics in this new era.

Xi Jinping made a series of statements on lifelong learning. In his 9th September, 2013 Teachers’ Day letter to teachers across China, he required “the firm establishment of a lifelong learning philosophy.” In his 25th September, 2013 congratulatory address on the first anniversary of the UN’s Global Education First Initiative UN, he asked “to strive to develop lifelong education for all and to build a learning society.” At a round-table meeting with foreign experts in Shanghai in May 2014, he made a solemn promise to the world that “China will always be a country big on learning.” On 22nd May, 2015, he further elaborated on the role of a lifelong learning philosophy and information technology in education in his congratulatory letter to the International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Post - 2015 Education, stating, “In the world today, progress is made in science and technology with each passing day, and modern information technology, such as the Internet, cloud computing, and big data, is profoundly changing the way people think, work, live, and learn. An impressive prospect of the world’s development is on display. This has become a common cause for all of mankind: to advance educational change and innovation, to build a networked, digitalised, and individualised lifelong education system, to construct a learning society ‘for all to learn anywhere anytime,’ and to cultivate a host of innovative talents in line with the development of information technology. China will unswervingly push educational informatisation forward, and try to expand the coverage of high quality educational resources using information technology. We will gradually close the digital gap in different regions, and between urban and rural areas, through educational informatisation that vigourously promotes equal access to education, so as to have tens of thousands of children enjoy high quality education with equality, changing their destiny through knowledge.”

Now, it’s quite necessary to clarify and define the “six major relations” under the guidance of Xi Jinping’s lifelong learning philosophy. They are as follows:

1. Lifelong learning is a core philosophy that supports continuing education;
2. A lifelong education system based on a lifelong learning philosophy is a pillar of a learning society, and the main structure of educational modernisation;
3. “Lifelong learning” and “fostering virtue through education” are two main themes throughout the lifelong education system. Together, these make the lifelong education system’s support of national education modernization more systematic, logical, and scientific;
4. Due to the vast number and importance of service objects, continuing education should make up half of the national lifelong education system;
5. A learning society consists of learning organizations, including various schools at different levels, and learning communities, enterprises, cities, and rural areas;
6. A learning society supported by a lifelong learning education system is able to make “lifelong learning for all” more “down to earth,” thus “promoting the well-rounded development of all our people.”

Essential Element #4: the Fundamental Purpose of Continuing Education

Developing continuing education will better serve the fundamental “people-centric” commitment, because it closely links “education” and “practice.” It integrates and expands various kinds of learning results, and is the most effective kind of education to promote well-rounded human development.

The Report states, “We must therefore continue our commitment to a people-centric development philosophy, and work to promote well-rounded human development.” The “people-centric” development philosophy is a brand new interpretation of the basic principles of Marxism, that people are the creators of history, and that the Party’s purpose is to wholeheartedly serve the people. It shows that not only are people the major force in creating history, but also that all development and creation activities should be “people-centric” in terms of whether and how to carry out activities, and how to evaluate and share their results. This philosophy fully adheres to the Communist Party of China’s purpose, Marxist principles, and in particular to Comrade Xi Jinping’s aims.

The final cornerstone of the “people-centric” development philosophy is “working to promote well-rounded human development.” The Report emphasised that “we will be better situated to promote well-rounded human development, and all-round social progress.” This is the fundamental purpose of developing education in the new era, which includes continuing education.

Better promotion of “well-rounded human development” always relies on the inextricably linked education, which mainly refers to receiving regular school education, and practice, which refers to social practice. Continuing education is not only inseparable from regular school education, but also naturally inseparable from work and life. Therefore, continuing education is a very special kind of education that closely connects “education” with “practice” to “better promote well-rounded human development.”

In addition, the “people-centric” philosophy of development raised in the Report is not an empty slogan. Instead, a series of specific measures are needed to put it in place, including no end of examples of the strengths from continuing education. For instance, it is required in the Report “to ensure and improve living standards”, and that “we must do more to improve the lives and address the concerns of the people and use development to strengthen area of weakness”. With regard to the unbalanced allocation of public education resources to the disadvantaged social groups in the past, continuing education can be fully relied on “to strengthen area of weakness” in people’s livelihood, and this is also a fundamental approach “to do more to improve the lives of the people”.

The Report requires that “we make steady progress in ensuring people’s access to social assistance,” which should be not only financial assistance, but also enhancing continuing education. This “assistance” is of fundamental significance in helping the weak become strong in a sustainable way. The Report further requires continuing “to implement targeted poverty reduction and alleviation measures,” as well as differentiated, updated, “targeted” continuing education. The Report also underscored the importance of “paying particular attention to helping people increase confidence in their own ability to lift themselves out of poverty, and see that they can access the education they need to do so.” To this end, targeted and effective continuing education measures will be the best approaches for “assistance in increasing confidence and access to education.”

The Report further requires “seeing that all our people have a greater sense of fulfillment as they contribute to and gain from development, and continuing to promote well-rounded human development and prosperity for everyone.” “Well-rounded human development” is defined as including giving ordinary people the greatest and most fundamental “sense of fulfillment.” Only when the average citizen has realised “well-rounded development” and “common prosperity” can there be long-term, fundamental guarantees. Furthermore, when it comes to how vast numbers of young students are expected to achieve “overall development,” it’s no doubt that continuing education, after various amounts of regular school education, is the only way to achieve “well-rounded development.”

The Report requires the nation “to see that the benefits of reform and development benefit all our people in a fair way.” “Benefiting all our people” is one of the most important “gains of reform and development,” and has the most chance of “comprehensive coverage” through continuing education opportunities, resources, and support in realising the strategic objective of “ensuring people’s access to education.”

Therefore, a “people-centric” commitment is the fundamental purpose of the development of China’s education in this new era; continuing education must be thoroughly developed.

Essential Element #5: Scientific Guiding Principles

The "five major development concepts" of innovation, coordination, green, opening, and sharing are highly targeted and operable. They are a window into existing problems in continuing education, as well as scientific guiding principles leading transformational upgrades and sustainable development.

The Report requires that “we must pursue with firmness of purpose the vision of innovation, coordinated, green, and open development that is for everyone.” This is closely concerned with the earnest implementation of a “people-centric” development philosophy. The “five major development concepts” not only form an economic development philosophy, but also scientific guiding principles to education in the new era, including continuing education, and they are particularly pertinent to guiding the transformation of continuing education.

Innovation is critical to upgrading China’s continuing education, surmounting difficulties and creating new opportunities. Coordination of continuing education coordinates with the needs of economic construction and social development, as well as the development of various kinds of education, will fully leverage its distinct functions. Education is a “green” industry by nature. However, low quality continuing education runs counter to green development, leading to the waste of material, energy, and learners’ time in particular. Only when learning content, resources, platforms, opportunities, means of study, and the faculty at continuing education programs are fully “open” can its social benefit be maximised in a real sense. “Sharing” means continuing to promote the sharing of learning resources and service opportunities of continuing education. One example is improving entrepreneurship and innovation capacity among low-income families and migrant workers, and permanently lifting rural populations out of poverty through pertinent, quality education.

Essential Element #6: the Historical Opportunity of Continuing Education

Continuing education can simultaneously enhance two major missions: “invigourating China through science and education, and developing a quality work force.” It is a special kind of education which fosters national and economic development.

With a view to the realisation of the great “Chinese dream” in the new era, continuing education is the most promising method available for comprehensively rejuvenating Chinese society.

The Report stated, “We must show firm resolve in implementing the strategy for invigorating China through science and education, and the strategy to develop a quality workforce.” Continuing education renders direct, powerful support to the implementation of the two major strategies.

The Report further stated, “We need to accelerate the building of an industrial system that promotes economic development in coordination with technological innovation, modern finance, and human resources.” As “human resources” are the core to building a new “industrial system,” continuing education serving human resources development will strengthen “the coordinated development of the industrial system.”

Where the Report lays out tasks to accomplish in changing each industry, “furthering supply-side structural reform” is stated to require “fostering new growth areas and drivers of growth in human capital services.” In each case, continuing education has the most favourable qualities to facilitate and drive “industrial transformation.”

The Report stresses establishing “a system for technological innovation in which synergy is created through the “joint efforts of enterprises, universities, and research institutes,” which cannot be accomplished without continuing education.

The Report further requires “inspiring creativity and vitality throughout society.” Society-wide continuing education is the most direct force able to accomplish this.

The Report repeatedly emphasises that “employment is pivotal to people’s well-being,” urges “striving to achieve fuller employment and create better quality jobs,” and calls for “providing extensive public employment services to open more channels for college graduates and other young people, as well as migrant rural workers, to find jobs and start their own businesses.” Among various kinds of education, only by relying directly on continuing education oriented toward employees’ needs can this extremely important and daunting task be accomplished. Furthermore, only high quality continuing education, including vocational education, can help achieve “fuller employment and better quality jobs,” and offer “extensive public employment services.”

By taking into consideration “pursuing a rural vitalization strategy” and “speeding up the modernisation of agriculture and rural areas,” the Report proposes that “we establish industrial, production, and business operation systems for modern agriculture,” “improve socialised agricultural services,” and “train professional rural service personnel who have a good knowledge of agriculture, love our rural areas, and care about rural people.” Implementation of these major tasks cannot occur without the overall support and services of continuing education.

Closely matched, competent, international continuing education measures are needed to follow up strategic designs for “China’s active promotion of international cooperation through the Belt and Road Initiative.” Of the various kinds of education, continuing education is a vanguard force in fulfilling China’s promises to the outside world to “continue contributing Chinese wisdom and strength to global governance.”

Essential Element #7: the Strategic Task of Continuing Education

Continuing education has a “three-fold effect” that other kinds of education don’t have. It involves cultivating hundreds of millions of craftsmen, and millions of on-the-job, top university graduates with practical experience. It can also effectively promote the overall improvement of social etiquette and civility, as well as the physical and mental health of the general public, including the elderly, to realise social harmony.

Insufficient preparation of human capital is the biggest difficulty facing nationwide development. The Report identified three major strategic tasks for continuing education in the new era.

The first task, as required by the report, is to “build an educated, skilled, and innovative workforce,” and “launch vocational skills training programmes on a large scale, giving particular attention to tackling structural unemployment.” The wondrous past major national development periods is the result of the fast rise of craftsmen, supported by vocational and continuing education. Only after the necessary educational process can China’s 780 million employees become a new power in the new era. Between the lines of the section on economic development in the report of the 19th CPC National Congress, continuing education is directed to train various kinds of craftsmen, make seamless connections between industries and the general populace, and form a practical education that agrees with the goal of modernisation.

The second requirement is to “cultivate a large number of world-class scientists and technologists in strategically important fields, scientific and technological leaders, and young scientists and engineers, as well as high-performing innovation teams.” The reason for the large number of top talents supporting rapid science and technology development in China is that they benefit most from various kinds of continuing education. Facts also prove that excellent university graduates with practical experience are the best “raw materials” to become the nation’s talents, when needed urgently. After receiving high-level degree and non-degree education, which can be further combined closely with world class hands-on projects, they are in the “fast lane” to become innovative talents.

The third requirement is to “build a learning society.” This is a pivotal role that must be played by continuing education, which is best situated to provide society with the most extensive benefits. Besides serving the above two major types of learners, continuing education can also serve other large social groups, such as 230 million senior citizens, executing a series of specific tasks to “see that all areas of social development are imbued with core socialist values,” “raise intellectual and moral standards,” “carry out public-interest cultural programmes,” and “carry out the healthy China initiative.” We will ensure that the strategic objectives of “greater social harmony,” as well as “significantly enhanced social etiquette and civility,” are realised.

Essential Element #8: Quality Requirements of Continuing Education

It seems that the “model + resources” of traditional continuing education are at “overcapacity.” The quality of higher continuing education in China is at the middle to lower-end, compared with the rest of the globe, which is not only a waste of precious resources, but also a decrease of the “gold content” of the gross enrollment rate in China’s higher education. The improvement of both quality and results is a core proposition closely related to the revitalisation of China’s continuing education.

The Report proposes to “push hard to improve development quality and results,” and “prioritise quality and performance.” The nation has changed its focus from speed to both quality and performance of development. This is not only concerning the economy, but also efforts to create an educational system with a “people-centric” development philosophy, and the general quality requirements of “the five major development concepts.”

When it comes to measuring and evaluating whether continuing education has acted on this general requirement, the final point is to see whether it is of practical assistance to the realisation of “promoting well-rounded development” across society. This will be the core index by which one can judge whether or not “improving continuing education” is achieved in the new era.

For a long time, the overall quality and performance of national education has been affected due to the influence of traditional views, management systems, school operations, evaluation standards, and employment prejudices, including supply-side structural “mechanical damages” to education, such as a lack of flexibility, openness, and accommodation of different kinds of education. This accounts for talent cultivation quality not conforming to the general requirements of economic structural adjustments and industrial upgrades.

There are such problems as bias in favor regular education, neglect of continuing and vocational education, and bias in favor of formal education, resulting in neglect of informal education and learning. This leads to an almost “overcapacity” of the “model + resources” of traditional education. In particular, quite a few “traditional adult degree education” programmes (which are all called “degree continuing education,” when in fact a transformation and upgrade process is needed between the two) not only blindly copy full-time regular university models and go against adult learning regulations, but also even attract learners on a large scale mainly by relying on a few subjects, investing few resources into outdated teaching content oriented solely toward examinations, degrees, and discipline. They moor in the quay of degree compensation education, which is helpless, or of little help, to the development of learners’ entrepreneurship and innovation abilities. Not only are precious resources wasted, but, worse yet, the “gold content” of the gross enrollment rate of higher education nationwide is decreased. In the past, learning was separated from practice, or of little or no use to many non-degree continuing education programmes at universities, though the price remained expensive. The “last mile” problem of enterprise learners is not yet solved, and leads to a serious “waste of learning.”

Therefore, continuing education in China is still in the world’s middle and lower levels; quality and performance are not high. To be specific, insufficient pertinence and effectiveness remain inadequacies and points of weakness in China’s continuing education. A firm grasp of “the five major development concepts” and “pushing hard to improve the quality and effect of development” are critical propositions to vitalise China’s continuing education development in the new era, in accordance with the Report’s instructions to “focus on priorities, address inadequacies, and shore up points of weakness.” Governments at all levels should pay the same attention to and make the same plans for the quality of continuing education as that of basic, vocational, and higher education.

Essential Element #9: the Opening to the Outside World of Continuing Education

Continuing education is best positioned to lead “going global” among various kinds of education. However, it must step up its efforts to transform and upgrade, reform and innovate, and forge ahead toward becoming a world-class education system.

The grand strategic objective of “making new ground in pursuing opening up on all fronts,” and the series of opening up strategic deployments of “increasing openness and cooperation in building innovation capacity,” “forming globally-oriented networks of trade, investment and finance, production, and services,” and “actively promoting international cooperation through the Belt and Road Initiative” in the Report put forward unprecedented new topics and tasks for China’s education cause. In the past, the opening of education mainly referred to learning from the West. The opening up of education in the new era will include “going global” with confidence; education internationalisation should include Chinese experiences and Chinese elements.

For example, the implementation of all “Belt and Road” tasks is related to specific people-to-people contacts, which is more favourable for continuing education to take the lead in “going global” when compared with other kinds of education. This promises to become one of the best ways “to offer Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach,” as required by the Report. It is also the easiest path to achieving the objective of “people-to-people connectivity, building a new platform for international cooperation to create new drivers of shared development.” Continuing education is the best method “to make economic globalisation more open, inclusive, and balanced, so that its benefits are shared by all.” Therefore, we will try to see that wherever “the Belt and Road” projects go, the projects, resources, and services of continuing education will follow. In a word, continuing education will force itself to step up its efforts toward transformation and upgrades, reform and innovation, enhancing the quality of talent cultivation, and forge ahead towards becoming a world-class educational system.

Essential Element #10: the Institutional Mechanism of Continuing Education

Revitalising continuing education management systems, governance structures, and operation mechanisms is conducive to breaking long-held, improper divisions of labour, as well as blockages against vested interests among government departments, between educational departments and various trades and industries, between education departments and schools, and among institutions within education departments. This revitalisation also facilitates the coordination of all education-related activities across the nation.

The Report especially stresses that “we must have the determination to get rid of all outdated thinking and ideas, and all institutional ailments, and break through blockages of vested interests.”

Overly extensive management, segmentation of links, criss-crossing responsibilities, and redundant systems across continuing education, among and between education departments and other government institutions, are problems that have existed for a long time. They are “institutional ailments” and “blockades toward vested interests” that haven’t been broken through yet, and they have a direct influence over the performance and quality of continuing education. These problems cause a great waste of continuing education resources, and prevent the maximum mobilisation of all parties “to improve continuing education.”

As such, the establishment of macro management systems and a governance model of continuing education conforming to the strategic requirements of “fostering new growth areas and drivers of growth in human capital services,” in line with the requirements to “continue to comprehensively deepen reform,” are an immediate opportunity to improve continuing education.

The following are special proposals:

• Streamline the macro management system and mechanism of nationwide continuing education, to establish a leading national continuing education group comprised of several State Council departments. The office of the leading group will be in the Ministry of Education, which leads “general education,” including regular school and continuing education.
• Strengthen the Ministry of Education institution in charge of continuing education, and establish a coordination mechanism.
• Further define the legal responsibility of universities to promote continuing and lifelong education.

In conclusion, we’d like to see the opportunity brought about by the 19th CPC National Congress seized with a strategic approach toward realising the dream of a powerful country in a new era, to determine to break through long-existing improper divisions of labour and blockages to vested interests, and to coordinate the management, governance, and operation of continuing education across the nation, providing a guarantee for the revitalisation of the great cause of nationwide continuing education.

About the author:

Ji Mingming

Ji is a member of the National Education Advisory Committee, and a renowned national education expert.

Ji worked for 10 years in a large, state-owned, modern enterprise as secretary of the factory’s Party committee. He successively worked in the Policy Research Office at the Ministry of Textile Industry, Bureau of Publicity and Education Cadres of the Organisation Department of the CPC Central Committee, and Education Bureau of the CPC Central Committee’s Publicity Department. Ji also worked as a section chief and a member of the PRC’s State Education Commission’s Party Committee. He served as vice president of the National Academy of Education Administration, and vice secretary of its Party Committee, head of the National Academy of Education Administration’s Academic Affairs Division, president of the Beijing Academy of Educational Sciences, and vice secretary of its Party committee (in charge of overall Party affairs), as well as on numerous research projects.

Ji has also served as vice president and chairman of the Second Chinese Society of Educational Development Strategy’s Working Committee of Lifelong Education, leader of the Advisory Steering Group of the National Learning City Construction, vice president of the Chinese Association for Non-Government Education, senior consultant researcher at Tsinghua University’s China Institute for Science and Technology Policy, and a senior consultant at Peking University’s Enterprise and Education Research Center.