On November 26th, 2013, the Open University of China (OUC) held a seminar to mark the opening of several industry pilot schools in Beijing (Industry Schools). Schools focused on ten different industries were formally established: coal, social work, logistics, textiles, mechanical industries, automobile repair, casting, information security, circular economy, and software.


Yang Zhijian, the President of OUC signed cooperation agreements with: Deputy Chairman of China National Coal Association, Wang Hongqiao;, Deputy Chairman of China Association of Social Workers, Zhao Pengqi; Deputy Chairman of China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, Ren Haoxiang; Deputy Director of China Textile Engineering Society, Wang Zhulin; Director of Education Development Center of Mechanical Industry, Chen Xiaoming; Chairman of China Association of Automobile Maintenance Industry, Sun Shouren; Chairman of China's Automobile Culture Promotion Association, Shen Chongming; Director of Beijing China and Germany Combined Technology Training Center, Wu Tianren; Deputy Executive Director of the China Foundry Association, Zhang Libo; Deputy Director of the Ministry of Public Security Information Security rank protection assessment center, Zhou ZuoYing; Chairman of Beijing Excellence International Education Co. LTD, Wang Yingbin; Chairman of China Resources Recycling Association, Liu Jianmin; and Deputy Director of China Software Industry Association, Xu Lei. Secretary of the party committee of OUC, Li Ling, announced the “Notice for Setting up the First Batch of Open University of China Industry Schools”. Vice President Li Linshu, Deputy Secretary of party committee Zhang Shaogang, and Assistants to President, Liu Chen and Yang Xiaotang, were present at meeting. Vice President Yan Bing chaired the meeting.

Constructing these Industry Schools is crucial in the OUC's implementation of the national educational system reform spirit, exploring the Open University construction mode, “The OUC Construction Plan” for establishing an Industry Support Union, innovative exploration, realizing the historical mission and goals, carrying out a reform of talent training,  the cooperation between industry, government, and education, and working together to build a learning industry and organization.

Striving to Construct a Learning Industry

The Open University of China Industry School was organized by the OUC in collaboration with the related industry ministries, geared to the needs of industry professionals to develop continuing education programs to meet the needs of both degree and non-degree students and professionals, and is an important part of the OUC's school system.

Currently, employees in various industries in our country are facing a sustained and strong demand for continuing training, keeping abreast of the latest developments in their industry, and academic advancement. This latest Industry School pilot program can promote OUC personnel training mode reform, improve OUC cooperation in school administration methods, enhance OUC school construction organization, benefit system-wide resource sharing, and provide advantages to the OUC and related industries, improve industry workers’ scientific and cultural level, promote human resource development,  and the ability to be scientificly and technologically innovative.

Yang Zhijian, president of the OUC, expressed optimism that the OUC will continue to improve cooperation mechanisms and system development along with methods to assure the quality of the education related to the various industries associated with the new Industry Schools, thereby promoting the life-long learning goal and helping to create a learning society.

Non-degree Education as an Entry Point

Industry schools will introduce an industry specific vocational qualification certificate or develop a new certificate of non-degree training. Using non-degree continuing education as a starting point, experts will be organized to establish industry certification standards around minimum qualifications and explore effective convergence models and mechanisms of non-degree continuing education and degree continuing education in order to work toward bridging the gaps in these divergent educational models.

"Credit Bank" as a Link

The main goal of the construction of the pilot Industry Schools is to explore and build cooperation between the OUC and industry, creating a practical system of basic and continuing education in both degree and non-degree programs, develop management and operational systems that are built around providing quality training to industry professionals via these pilot programs and related research. The OUC's credit bank can also be integrated into the system to keep track of the education course of each student's continuing education.

Three "Highlights" of Industry School

The establishment of the Industry School is an important milestone in the growth of the OUC and an important step in the construction of the learning industry achieved via cooperation between the OUC and industry, which is summarized in the following three "highlights":

First, the schools' broad range. The 10 Industry Schools established in this pilot program include the coal industry, social work, logistics, textile, machinery, automobile repair, casting, information security, circular economy, software industry, etc., covering part of the secondary and tertiary industries, which is of great significance in promoting social and economic development.

Second, is the high level of cooperation. The cooperating organizations selected for the pilot program are all national industries, which manage and guide the industry sectors, can unite the industry's leading experts, and have the capacity to help shape and guide the education of professionals involved in their related industries. Some examples are: the cooperation between the Coal Institute and the China Coal Industry Association, the Textile Institute and the China Textile Engineering Society, the Automotive College and the China Automotive Repair Industry Association, the Information Security Institute and the Evaluation Center on Information Security Level Protection of the Ministry of Public Security, just to name a few.

Third, the various educational formats offered. Within the overall framework of the OUC's various disciplines and programs, Industry School can offer all levels of degree and non-degree continuing education, as well as certifications in education, teacher training, international cooperation and exchange, and other cooperative projects. Thus making the skills and abilities essential to each individual field the core around which the education is tailored, and producing qualified workers prepared for employment.

By He Jing, the OUC