On 18 July, the Open University of China (OUC) inaugurated "The 2023 English-Learning Programme for the OUC" with the aim of strengthening the international cooperation and communication skills of its staff and promoting the high-quality development of open education.

The event witnessed the presence and speeches of Fan Xianrui, a member of the Party Committee and vice president of the OUC, along with Nick Thomas, minister of Culture and Education, British Embassy in Beijing. The gathering included Dong Liying, business manager of English Teaching at English & Exams, British Council, as well as 20 department heads from relevant departments of the OUC and 30 participants. University leaders and participants from six branches—Xi'an, Qingdao, Wuhan, Chengdu, Xinjiang, and Bingtuan—also joined the event through a video link. Shi Yunzhi, deputy director of the International Department of the OUC, presided over the event.

Fan Xianrui expressed that the open university system will further delve into the significant speech delivered by General Secretary Xi Jinping during the fifth group study session of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee. She emphasized that the system should actively support the educational aspects of the opening-up strategy and coordinate efforts in both "bringing in" and "going global." Fan Xianrui introduced the OUC's strategic focuses on digitalisation and internationalisation, highlighting its proactive endeavors in establishing platforms for international cooperation and fostering practical exploration of international exchanges and cooperation in open education.

She underscored that this programme provides a valuable opportunity to effectively enhance the international cooperation and communication capabilities of the staff, as well as to bolster the international development of the Open University. Fan Xianrui expressed the hope for deeper, broader, and more fruitful cooperation with the British Council, and emphasized the high expectations for the learners participating in this programme.

Nick Thomas reflected on the history of cooperation between the British Council and the OUC. He acknowledged the remarkable achievements and innovative approaches of the OUC in distance education, which have greatly inspired him and his team. He expressed full confidence that in the future, both parties will explore even broader prospects and opportunities for cooperation. Nick Thomas expressed a strong desire to further strengthen collaboration and facilitate the implementation of additional projects.

"The 2023 English Learning Programme for the OUC" is a collaborative learning initiative co-organised by the OUC and the British Council. This programme provides an immersive learning experience through small group instruction and real-time online face-to-face tutoring, focusing on the IELTS examination. Its objective is to enhance learners' comprehensive English language skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing, thereby establishing a strong foundation to support staff members' international visits, participation in academic conferences, and engagement in collaborative international research endeavors.


Dong Liying provided an introduction to the programme's curriculum and teaching staff. Xie Ke, deputy director of the OUC’s Personnel Department, shared requirements and expectations for participants from the perspective of teacher talent development. Liu Xiaoqian, programme lead of the OUC’s International Department, outlined the implementation requirements of the programme. Dr. Jiang Yilu, a participant from the OUC’s Lifelong Education Research Institute, delivered a speech on behalf of the learners.


Written by Liu Xiaoqian and photographed by Zhuge Huanyu, OUC