Recently, the preparation of “The Open University for Older Adults” implemented by the Open University of China (OUC) has made solid progress in promoting education for older adults, constructing an open university for older adults, investigating and analyzing demand, studying basic theory and real-time issues, implementing the construction of professional disciplines, developing non-degree projects, building platform course resources, and system construction.
In order to put into practice the requirements of “support institutions of higher education and second level vocational schools in adding majors and courses relating to services for older adults” and “fully exert the role of the open universities in carrying out continuing education and distance degree education” put forward in “Several Opinions on Speeding Up the Development of Services for Older Adults by the State Council” (State Issuance  Number 35), and conform to the instruction of Vice Premier Liu Yandong “to reinforce the strength of constructing the Open University for Older Adults to satisfy their learning needs”, the OUC studied and formulated “Opinions on Promoting Education for Older Adults”, and began to prepare for the construction of The Open University for Older Adults.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) has approved the “Construction Programme for The Open University for Older Adults”. Units including the Bureau of Retired Cadres from the Central Organizational Department, the Office of China’s National Committee on Aging and the China Association of Social Welfare under the Ministry of Civil Affairs positively anticipate working together for its construction. Two majors, including older adults’ care and management, and gerontological social work have been approved, while focus has also been placed on the implementation of training projects including geriatric nursing and calligraphy for older adults.
The Open University for Older Adults’ web portal (www.lndx.edu.cn) and “Happy Learning Class” public WeChat account launched recently. The portal is an important window for publicizing the features of the Open University for Older Adults. Adhering to the concept of “living out retirement through education and mental cultivation through courses”, the portal is dedicated to becoming an important link between the cultural education needs of older adults and the construction of staff teams in the field of services for older adults. The website was constructed in three stages. The first stage solves the problem “to have”, which is mainly centred on course demonstration. To date, there are nearly 300 courses and about 1,700 of video resources until now. In the second and the third stage, the functions “to use” and “to serve” will be gradually realized.
The public WeChat account aims to help older adults learn and enjoy the happiness of retired life, creating a new era of education for older adults. It promotes outstanding courses in day-to-day life, health care, literature and art, history and culture, and announcements about online and offline activities according to a fixed schedule.
The preparatory working group for The Open University for Older Adults commented that, in the age of rapid information technology development, they hope that the web portal and public WeChat account will become an important entry point to integrate the lives of older adults and staff providing services for older adults; a good platform for older adults to develop their own interests and hobbies, exchange learning experience and make new friends; and a new way for staff to carry out self-directed learning and receive continuing education, all of which will promote the cause of education for older adults, and contribute to the healthy development of our country’s service industry for older adults.
“Happy Learning Class” WeChat QR Code
By Lv Qian, the OUC