On December 26, 2014, a seminar on the planning and design of the Healthy and Artistic Pension Service Experiential National Demonstration Centre (hereinafter referred to as the National Demonstration Centre) was held in the Open University of China (OUC) conference centre. The seminar was organized by the OUC Department of Social Education and Vocational Training.
In attendance at the seminar were Zhao Shengli, Deputy Director of the Veteran Cadres Bureau of the Organization Department of the CPC; An Yufeng, Director of the Retired Cadres Bureau of the Ministry of Education; Wang Jinlong, Director of the Business Development Department under the National Working Commission on Aging of the Ministry of Civil Affairs; Feng Xiaoli, Vice Chairman and General Secretary of the China Association of Social Welfare (CASW) under the Ministry of Civil Affairs; Li Li, Deputy Director of the China Employment Training Technical Instruction Centre, Occupational Skill Testing Authority of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the People’s Republic of China; Ye Biao, an architect from the Architectural Design and Research Institute of Tsinghua University; Yang Zhijian, President of the OUC; Zhang Shaogang, Vice President of the OUC; Liu Chen, Assistant to the President of the OUC; Ruan Zhiyong, former Vice President of the OUC; and the heads of relevant departments. The seminar was chaired by Zhang Shaogang, Vice President of the OUC.
Ye Biao, an architect from Architectural Design and Research Institute of Tsinghua University, introduced the design plan for the National Demonstration Centre. The overall design combines eastern and western cultural elements. On one hand, it advocates the ancient Chinese tropes of "talking to nature” and "self-cultivation", while on the other hand, it adopts the traditional western university campus pattern of being “globally open and partially closed”. The design is intended to reflect the characteristics and requirements of the older adults and professionals in the pension services industry. Drawing on international experience, the National Demonstration Centre design plan focuses on six aspects: health & regimen, artistic experience, education, life, social interaction, and services. The National Demonstration Centre will be equipped with advanced architecture, exquisite art, and a deep cultural background. The National Demonstration Centre is intended to be a place to experience facilities for older adults; a place where training and demonstration activities can be carried out for practitioners in the industry; a place integrating management, operation and services. The National Demonstration Centre will cover a number of functions, including a pension services experience centre, an education centre, a health experience centre, an art centre, a training centre for pension services practitioners, a research and development centre, an information centre, and a management operations centre. It aims to build an eco system of innovative education and pension services that can be displayed and replicated comprehensively both online and offline.
According to the experts in attendance at the seminar, in the face of its aging population, China attaches a great deal of importance to later life education. Based on the strengths and advantages of the OUC’s nationwide school system, the OUC can share its high quality educational resources for older adults with affiliated open universities and RTVUs nationwide. Running the Open University for Older Adults in an orderly way not only reflects the demands created by national conditions but is also in keeping with the pace of society. It is an important milestone in the development of the pension cause in China. The design for the functions of the National Demonstration Centre embodies an international perspective with Chinese traditional elements, combined with an in-depth integration of ICT and education training. Its maxim is “one is never too old to learn, never too old to make one’s own contribution, never too old to enjoy happiness, and never too old to be taken care of”. The in-depth integration of health, art, and regimen; the in-depth integration of nature, science, and humanities; and the in-depth integration of design, utilization, and operation are also taken into consideration as part of the Demonstration Centre’s design concept. The Centre takes “providing education for older adults” as its primary concept, “enjoying the intelligence of the centre” as its core ideal, and “enjoying an energetic, healthy and happy retirement” as its primary feature, enabling the centre to cover unlimited content in a limited space. The experts vowed to leverage their respective talents to promote the construction of the National Demonstration Centre in terms of policy, funding and personnel. They will strive to equip the centre with advanced facilities and first-class management, making it a national standard for healthy and artistic pension service experiential centres that can be replicated around China.
Yang Zhijian said that the OUC would fulfill its duty to accelerate the construction of the Open University for Older Adults. The OUC should further refine the construction programme for the National Demonstration Centre to better meet the needs of older adults and the training demands of professional practitioners in the pension services industry, positively contributing to the promotion of training for professional practitioners in national education and pension services.
By Lv Qian, the OUC