The theme of this year’s 21th International Day of People with Disability on December 3 was “removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all”. The opening ceremony of the OUC’s School for the Disabled was held in Shenzhen today, along with a seminar on education for the disabled. Yang Zhijian, president of the OUC,

and Deng Mengzhong, secretary of the party committee and president of Shenzhen RTVU, jointly unveiled the OUC’s School for the Disabled. Along with Yan Bing, vice president of the OUC, they issued licenses for the education of the disabled to 18 local universities and 16 OUC teaching centers.  

Yang Zhijian delivered an important speech at the conference. He said that the formal renaming of CRTVU’s School for the Disabled as the OUC’s School for the Disabled marks a major event since the establishment of the OUC. Practically, it demonstrates the OUC’s social responsibility and will stimulate education for the disabled. Since the school was first established in 2004, it has carried out education for the disabled based on the concept of open and distance education. By focusing on quality assurance, it has achieved larger scale higher education for the disabled, contributed to the construction of a learning society, and enhanced social harmony. It has created a unique “dual system” education model that brings together the respective advantages of the Disabled Federation and the Open University system and has vigorously promoted the development of local education programmes for the disabled. It has built a brand new “mixed” teaching model and a barrier-free teaching environment, greatly enhancing the ability of disabled students to study flexibly and autonomously. The school’s achievements have been recognized by the Ministry of Education and the China Disabled Persons’ Federation, as well as governments and disabled persons’ federations at the local level. It has built a good reputation for the Open University system.

Yang Zhijian emphasized that the OUC will adhere to an educational direction that “faces the grassroots, rural areas, remote regions and ethnic minority regions”. The OUC attaches special importance to the education of the disabled, military officers and migrant workers. The OUC will deploy special personnel to research and formulate development plans for disabled education, and coordinate the reform and development of the school for the disabled. It will continue to stimulate the development of education for the disabled in order to help more disabled people successfully integrate into society. 

Yang Zhijian hopes that the school for the disabled can use the renaming as an opportunity to further clarify its future development objectives and promote the construction of a solid foundation for the school. In order to provide good quality services and a more convenient environment for disabled students, the school will expand local schools and teaching centers, strengthen the construction of new disciplines and courses, build a strong teaching team, accumulate high quality learning resources suitable for disabled education, and create a digital learning environment. 

CRTVU’s School for the Disabled was established in February 2004. It has provided degree education and vocational training for disabled people all over the country. The school has recruited 7,334 students, of which 2,513 have already graduated. The school’s 2011 enrollment figures accounted for 13% of the total number of disabled people enrolled in higher education in China and it has become an important force in higher education for the disabled in China. As a result of receiving open and distance education, many disabled people are able to improve their quality of life and access more employment opportunities. Many outstanding graduates have inspired and moved the society, including Li Wenjun from Shenyang School, Dong Ming from Wuhan School, Yang Bozun from Tianjin School and Li Hanhua from Jiangmen Teaching Center.

By Wen Shuyu, the OUC