To deepen the study and implementation of General Secretary Xi Jinping's important speeches on education and better support the establishment of a society and country of learning where lifelong learning is pursued by all, a symposium on promoting the integrated, synergetic, and innovative development of open universities was held in Jinan on 14 December 2023.

The event was hosted by the Open University of China (OUC) and organised by Shandong Open University (OU). Wang Qiming, secretary of the Party Committee and president of the OUC, chaired the meeting. Zhang Zhigang, a member of the Education Work Committee of the Shandong Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), a member of the Leading Party Group, and deputy director of the Shandong Provincial Education Department, attended the meeting and delivered a speech. Secretaries and presidents of 10 provincial open universities, including those from Shandong, Beijing, Hebei, Liaoning, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Henan, Guangdong, Chongqing, and Shaanxi, convened in Jinan to discuss the fundamental task of fostering integrated, synergetic, and innovative development in open universities. Liu Xuanxuan, deputy secretary of the Party Committee and secretary of the Discipline Inspection Committee of the OUC, also participated in the meeting.


Wang Qiming emphasised that the new era and journey have ushered in fresh missions and tasks for open universities. It's crucial for these institutions across the country to bolster cohesion to facilitate systematic and coordinated reforms. With the collective efforts of the entire open university system, open education is poised for even greater achievements.

Firstly, it's essential to define the relationship between open education and the development of a learning-oriented society, highlighting the unique and irreplaceable role of open universities. Secondly, we must acknowledge the current challenges facing open universities and actively explore innovative development strategies.

Thirdly, the enhancement and optimisation of the credit bank's qualification framework is imperative. We need a long-term perspective to bridge and integrate degree and non-degree education internally, while achieving international credit conversion and transfer externally.

Fourthly, the acceleration in establishing new types of higher education institutions is critical. Building a digital university to lead the global trend with digital intelligence and creating the "Study in China" brand is a step in this direction.

Fifthly, open universities must operate in an open manner to enhance their international influence, expand their global "circle of friends," and collaborate at a national level to establish an open university system with distinctive Chinese characteristics.

Lastly, we must commit to integrated, synergetic, and innovative development, staying true to our original mission and adapting to current trends. Our goal is to strengthen core competitiveness in resources and technology, establish a hub for domestic and international resource gathering and technology transfer, and create a hallmark for open education.

Zhang Zhigang, representing both the Education Work Committee of the CPC Shandong Provincial Committee and the Provincial Department of Education, extended warm congratulations on the convening of the meeting. He expressed sincere gratitude to the OUC for its unwavering concern and support for continuing education in Shandong Province, and welcomed all guests in attendance. Zhang provided a comprehensive overview of the advanced development of higher education in Shandong Province from a macro perspective, and offered insightful suggestions for the future progression of open universities.

He emphasised that this symposium serves as a critical review and guide for the high-quality advancement of the open university system within Shandong Province. The Provincial Department of Education is committed to continuing its support for the establishment and growth of open universities in the region. The department aims to systematically foster the integrated development of these institutions, leverage digitalisation to enhance lifelong education, and engage innovatively in the development of the Seniors University of China (SUC) through diverse approaches.

The secretaries and presidents of the OUC, along with their counterparts from the 10 provincial open universities, engaged in open discussions and proposed suggestions and strategies focused on the development of open education and a learning-oriented society, system construction, and the innovative growth of open universities. Together, they sought to discover new ideas and approaches for the integrated, synergetic, and innovative development of open universities.

Officials from the appropriate departments of the Shandong Provincial Department of Education, the OUC, and several provincial open universities were present at the meeting as non-voting delegates.


By Shandong OU