The great celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Open University of China (OUC) (formerly the China Central Radio & TV University) was held in the Great Hall of the People on Oct 18th. Ms. Liu Yandong, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and State Councilor, sent a letter of congratulations and Ms. Li Weihong, Vice Minister of Education attended the meeting and delivered a speech.

Li said that the past 30 years of operations by the OUC clearly have demonstrated that establishing the OUC was a wise decision made by the second generation leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Deng Xiaoping as the core. The OUC is a great creation in the history of the development of Chinese education. Over the past 30 years, the OUC has always shared a common purpose with the People's Republic of China; the OUC has fully implemented the Party's education policy, and adhered to the socialist orientation in education. Acting on the idea of "taking root at the basic level and serving the society" in running the university, the OUC has been oriented towards rural needs, local needs, occupational needs, and the needs of all ethnic groups, The OUC has creatively carried out open and distance education (ODE), becoming the main force in China's ODE. The university has trained a large number of special practical personnel, and made remarkable contributions to accelerating the process of popularization of higher education in China.

Li reiterated that faced with new tasks and requirements, the OUC should bring into full play the important role of building a learning society for life-long learning for the entire nation. It must serve the needs of the national development strategy and play an important role in building China into a strong country of human resources, in promoting education equity and building a harmonious society. Standing on the threshold for further development, the OUC opens new chapters in the reform and development of China.

President Ge Daokai of the OUC said in his speech at the meeting that the Open University of China (formerly the China Central Radio & TV University) was established on February 6th, 1978 with the approval of Deng Xiaoping himself, and classes were officially opened in 1979. Over the past 30 years, a total of 7.2 million students have received OUC higher education and graduated, and over 50 million people have received non-degree education and training. Over the last ten years, since open education was initiated in 1999, 6.4 million students have been enrolled, accounting for about one-eighth of the total enrollment of various higher educational institutions in the same period, which is one-third of the total enrollment of adult education or three-quarters of the total enrollment in the pilot modern distance education, making great contributions to accelerating the popularization of higher education in China.

About 1,400 people attended the celebration, including leading cadres from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the Ministry of Water Resources, the People's Bank of China, the National Bureau of Statistics, the State Food and Drug Administration, All-China Women's Federation, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the P.L.A. General Staff Department and the Air Force, leading cadres from such collaborating universities as Peking University, and Tsinghua University, and Beijing Normal University, leaders and staff members of the OUC, representatives from the provincial radio and TV universities and people from news media. Mr. Ruan Zhiyong, secretary of the OUC CPC Committee and vice president of the OUC, presided over the meeting. During the celebration, the exhibition "30 Years of Glory -- Achievements of China Radio and TV Universities" was also held.

By Wang Yang (