The critical period of the 13th Five-Year Plan is of decisive significance to realise the first centenary goal of the Communist Party of China, that is, “to build a moderately prosperous society in all aspects”; to accomplish China’s three strategic objectives of education, i.e., “to basically modernise education, to basically shape a learning society, and to become a nation with significant human resources”; and to build the OUC into a new type of university, a high-level open university with Chinese characteristics, and an important pillar of the learning society.

Therefore, the Plan was made to deepen the OUC’s advancement of all reforms and construction during the 13th Five-Year Plan period and to realise the expected goals.

I. General Background

(I) General Achievements

In line with the national education plan for “well run open universities” and the pilot requirements in national education system reform “to probe the construction mode of open universities”, China Central Radio and TV University (CCRTVU) proposed The OUC Construction Plan and received the approval of the leading Party group of the Ministry of Education (MOE) in 2011. The MOE issued its approval for the establishment of the Open University of China, founded through the China Central Radio and TV University, and its founding ceremony was held at the Great Hall of the People in 2012. The university proposed the “1314 Project” for consistent implementation in 2013. During the 12th Five-Year Plan period, a series of phased achievements were made in the OUC’s reform and construction, which are mainly reflected in the following six aspects.

----In learner development, preliminary revisions and adjustments have been made on learner development objectives and plans. The OUC Quality Standard and Quality Assurance System has been established, the “Six-Network Integration” learner development model has been put forward for practice and exploration, and teaching reform and construction, teacher training, and learner development has been further propelled. The OUC has been entitled to confer bachelor’s degrees. There have been a total of 4.89 million student enrollments and 3.96 million graduates, with nearly ten million people having received non-degree education training.

----In school organisation system construction, studies have been made to formulate opinions on promoting the construction of school organisation systems, defining the four-in-one school organisation system relying on “entity, system, alliance, and platform”, and shaping the pattern of “joint discussion, construction, management, sharing and mutual benefit”, with each body responsible for its own role and fulfilling its duties in a unique manner, based on the construction concept of “community school-running”. Construction of branches and industry and corporate colleges has been explored in cooperation with the provincial RTVUs, local open universities, and industrial departments and commissions.

----In the construction of basic systems, the OUC Constitution has been drafted, a series of policy documents have been issued around the reform and construction of teaching, research, management and service, the Academic Committee, the Academic Degree Evaluation Committee and Quality Assurance Committee have been established, and the relevant operation mechanisms have been improved to provide basic system guarantees of orderly teaching and management for the new-type of university.

----In the construction of informatisation, explorations have been made to configure the “cloud-network-terminal” three-in-one construction concept of education informatisation, an integrated cloud platform of open and distance education has been set up, and over 300 cloud classrooms have been built to explore and promote the construction of mobile learning terminals. The construction of more than 300 online core classes have been initiated and completed, 29,000 five-minute micro-lectures and a large number of digital learning resources have been developed, the digital library has been built and put into use, and preliminary explorations have been made into the new mechanism for joint construction and sharing of quality resources.

----In credit bank construction, breakthroughs have been made in basic theory research, comparison research, and system framework. The institutional system focused on learning outcomes framework and the technical path of “framework + standard” has been designed, and a series of accreditation tools and manuals with independent intellectual property rights have been developed. The design of the learning-outcomes accreditation system has been mainly completed on a nationwide scale, creating credit bank accounts for 4.3 million learners.

----In non-degree education, OUC’s Guidelines on Vigourous Development of Non-Degree Education has been promulgated, and explorations have been made on the “integrated” development mode of non-degree education. The Open University for Older Adults has been founded, the construction and planning of the Healthy and Artistic Pension Service Experiential National Demonstration Centre has been initiated, 58 experiment centres and bases for community education have been built, various vocational trainings for primary and secondary school teachers and others have been held, and the project “Research on Public Service Platform Model of Life-Long Learning and Its Demonstrative Application”, given by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance, has been completed.

(II) Existing Problems

Though achievements far outweigh problems in the OUC’s reform and construction, there are quite a few issues in urgent need of further study and practical solutions. These problems are mainly “the old city renovation” and “the new city construction” as well as the additive problem of building “the new city” in “the old city”. They are embodied as follows: Not everyone has had a clear understanding of how to efficiently run open universities with Chinese characteristics or agrees on how to promote the transformation and development of the RTVUs. There is still a lack in operational capabilities, technical application and coordinated management abilities required for the construction of the new-type university. Reforms in school running, management, training and service modes have to be further deepened, as they still fall behind the needs required for the construction of the new-type university. Institutions for school running, management and operation need to be straightened out, and the modern governance system to guarantee the reform and development of the new-type university has yet to be established.

In the meantime, the OUC’s reform and construction are faced with great challenges along with the expectation of great opportunities for development, all set against the backdrop of China’s economic and social structural readjustment, transformation and upgrading, the reform and development of higher education and the construction of a learning society, as well as the development and impact of modern information technology, Internet technology in particular.

Standing at this new historical crossroads, the OUC must squarely face these problems to meet the challenges and seize hard-to-reach strategic opportunities. The OUC remembers its roots and continues to march forward, sparing no effort to further the development of reform and construction in all aspects and to step onto a new stage.

II. Overall Requirements

(I) Guiding Ideology

Under the guidance of the socialist theoretical system with Chinese characteristics, the OUC will fully implement the guiding principles of the 18th CPC National Congress and the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth plenary sessions of the 18th CPC Central Committee; learn and understand the guiding principles from General Secretary Xi Jinping’s major policy addresses, firmly establish “consciousness of the ideology, the whole, the core and the line”, and implement the development concepts of innovation, coordination, environment protection, opening up and mutual sharing. Centering on the fundamental task of fostering integrity and promoting the well-rounded development of the people, the OUC is to emancipate the mind, to explore reform and innovation, to enhance the characteristics, to improve the quality, to lead education modernisation with education informatisation, and to make new contributions to promoting fairness in education and to shaping a learning society with lifelong learning for all.

(II) Basic Ideas

Problem-Solving Oriented Concepts. Based on the 12th Five-Year period summaries on reform and construction, it is of great significance to find out the crucial underlying problems influencing the overall situation. The key will be breakthroughs to lead the overall advancement of reform and construction.

Reform and Innovation as Driving Forces. To adapt to the development of the time and macro environment changes, further potential and vitality are to be stimulated to push forward continuous reform and development by emancipating the mind, deepening reform and pioneering innovation.

Engineering Projects Give Direction. Major targeted project plans are made to lead the development of the reform and construction and to organise synergetic efforts for breakthroughs.

Improvement of Capacity, Strength, Level and Quality are Working Goals. Specific plans are to be made for all reform and construction work, defining the road map, timetable, and responsible persons to ensure the successful achievement of the specific objectives.

(III) Overall Goal

By the year 2020, major progress and new breakthroughs will have been made in the fields of reform and construction, such as learner development, school organisation systems, education informatisation, credit bank, education and teaching research, non-degree education, and international exchanges and cooperation. The overall school running capacity and strength will have been obviously enhanced, and the teaching level and learner development quality obviously improved, working hard to build the OUC into a new-style university in China’s higher education system, a high-level open university with rich Chinese characteristics in the world open university system, and an important pillar in China’s learning society.

III. Main Tasks

(I) Learner Development

1. Goals and Pursuits

The school running ideology of “establishing the school through quality” is formulated to focus on the learner as the centre, to deepen education and teaching reform, and to constantly improve the quality of learner development. The development means is to be reformed to strengthen meaningful construction, to intensify reform and construction and to strengthen the process monitoring and assurance around major problems and key links of great significance to quality during the course of learner development in an effort to realise a consistent increase in student and social satisfaction.

2. Policies and Measures

Implementing the “Quality Upgrading Project of Learner Development”

----Establishing the “Specialty Reform and Construction Plan”: With the guidance of “supply-side reform”, the specialty structure will be regulated and optimised in a comprehensive way by simultaneously standardising, merging, revoking and developing specialties oriented to meet the needs of society, students and strategies. In line with the needs, foundations, features and possibilities, attention will be given to the renovation and construction of about 10 undergraduate programmes and 30 junior college programmes, as well as preparations for constructing about 5 postgraduate programmes.

----Establishing the “Teaching Contents and Course System Reform Plan”: The learner development objectives will be further defined to revise and improve the learner development plan by focusing on learners as the centre. With the core of applied and technical knowledge, the teaching contents will be completely reformed, formulating a teaching content system that conforms better to the actual needs of the students by streamlining and integrating work. Overall reform and construction will be made on the basic teaching materials of all specialties by way of making revisions, compiling and recompiling. Explorations will be made into the advancement of a “complete credit system” and “course certificate” system, to optimise course structure and to formulate a scientific and rational standard course system.

----Establishing the “Learner Development Mode Reform and Innovation Plan”: The learner development mode is to be reformed and designed based on a network adapted to the development trends of modern open and distance education and to further stimulate changes in the ideas. The key is to advance the construction of online learning courses and online teaching teams to explore and shape a correlated and mutually supportive “Six-Network Integration” means of learner formation mode supported by online teaching teams, learning support, learning assessment and teaching management with online learning space as the base and online learning courses at the core. The experimental school will be the first to try and to lead the all-round innovative experiment and breakthrough reforms with learner development reform as the main contents, playing a leading role in quality demonstration.

----Establishing the “Quality Standard and Assurance Action Plan”: The learner development quality standard will be revised and improved comprehensively to formulate a quality monitoring system during the course of learner development along with a systematic learner development quality evaluation index system. The process quality assurance will be strengthened for student satisfaction investigation and graduate follow-up investigation and the distribution of an annual quality report to the society. A social evaluation mechanism will be introduced to invite relevant social evaluation institutions for learner development quality evaluation.

----Establishing a “Teacher Team Construction Plan”: Special funds will be set up to strengthen the teacher team training of the school organisation system, including the attendance of trainings and international academic meetings at home and abroad, and various kinds of special studies. A batch of full-time and part-time high-level experts and scholars will be purposefully selected and invited. Certain renowned OUC teachers will be invited for selection. Efforts will be intensified to focus on the cultivation of a batch of excellent young and middle-aged teachers.

---Establishing the “Special Group Education Support Plan”: Relevant policies will be formulated to increase input, focusing on the support of educational training for a new type of industrial workers, new type of skilled farmers, military personnel, and the disabled, etc.

(II) School Organisation System

1. Goals and Pursuits

The school organisation is to be formulated as an open system with wide social participation, diversified subjects, and joint construction and governance. The university’s contribution to society should be to create a solid and competent OUC. The open school running ideology emphasises adherence to the principle of “joint discussion, construction, management, mutual sharing and benefit”, to promote the reform and innovation of school running and management modes, and to formulate the school community of “unified brand, standard, platform, management and evaluation”. Thus, coordinated university development and cultural construction is boosted. The advantages of the school organisation system are given play to take targeted educational measures in poverty alleviation and to fulfill the social responsibility of the university.

2. Policies and Measures

Implementation of the “School Organisation System Construction Project”.

----Establishing the “Headquarters Capacity Building Plan”: Construction focused on capacity building will be intensified to further define the headquarters’ orientation and responsibilities, to reform management methods and to improve management ability. Management institutions are scientifically set up to coordinate the formulation of all the rules and regulations for school running, management, teaching, scientific research, and services. Cadre management and the selection and appointment system are improved to reform the personnel and salary system, to explore the internal governance structure dominated by the University Council, Committee of University Affairs, Faculty Congress, Academic Committee, Academic Degree Evaluation Committee, and Quality Assurance Committee.

----Establishing the “Branch Capacity Upgrading Plan”: The Opinions of the Open University of China on Advancing the School Organisation System Construction will be fully implemented. Efforts are made to upgrade the branches’ abilities in constructing specialties, learning resources and regional coordination management. The branch-headquarter and branch-branch exchanges among teachers and cadres are encouraged to strengthen the teacher team construction of their own regional school organisation systems.

----Establishing the “School and Study Centre Construction Plan”: The setup, construction and evaluation standards of local schools, industry (corporate) colleges, special schools, experimental schools and study centres are formulated together with the branches. The key is to construct a batch of demonstration schools and study centres with striking characteristics and outstanding qualities.

----Establishing the “Poverty-Alleviation Plan with Targeted Educational Measures”: Under the guidance of national poverty-alleviation policies, the advantages of the school organisation system and informatisation are brought into full play, and a batch of targeted poverty-stricken counties will be selected for poverty alleviation through education with attention given to the old revolutionary areas and the areas along the route of the Long March.

----Establishing the “Distance Education Support Plan of Xinjiang, Tibet and Northeast China”: Guiding principles of the relevant national policies related to supporting Xinjiang and Tibet and rejuvenating the northeastern region, system coordination, special assistance, specialised course construction and other means will be implemented and utilised to push forward the distance education development in Xinjiang, Tibet and the northeastern region and to enhance the level of learner development and the ability to serve regional economic and social development.

----Establishing the “University Culture Construction Plan”: The inheritance and innovation of the culture in Radio and TV University system will be strengthened. The OUC will construct community culture, Internet culture and lifelong learning culture. We will live up to the OUC’s motto “Dedication to Learning, Benefit to All, and Education for All” to carry on colourful culture and sports activities and to develop an excellent school, teaching and learning spirit.

(III) Education Informatisation

1. Goals and Pursuits

The strategy of “schools with strong network advantages” will be established to push forward “Internet plus” university construction in a comprehensive way, to shape the smart campus conforming to the OUC’s school running form and characteristics, to create the OUC’s school running characterised by profound technology-education integration and education modernisation led by education informatisation, and to improve the education and teaching level, learner development quality and school benefits. The cloud platform of modern distance open education will be built to support teaching, research, management, learner support and social service, and the work mechanism will be improved to construct, gather and push course-centered digital learning resources.

2. Policies and Measures

-----Implementing “Education Informatisation Promotion Project”. Establishing the “Smart OUC Construction Plan”: The interconnected distance open education cloud platform is to be built to integrate teaching, research, management, learning support and social service. The mobile learning platform is to be developed to fit in with mobile Internet development, mobile learning and management trends. Efforts will be made to construct infrastructure such as the cloud classroom and to explore its application. Greater efforts will be dedicated to constructing the Engineering Research Centre for Technology Integration and Application of E-Learning, Big Data Analysis Centre, Learning Behaviour Analysis Centre, and Centre for Technology Research and Development and Platform Operation and Maintenance.

----Establishing the “Digital Learning Resources Construction Plan”: Focusing on courses as the centre, the construction of web-based degree and non-degree education learning resources will be comprehensively promoted. Resource construction and application modes will be reformed to establish the centre for research and development, management, and the promotion of online learning courses. The construction of five-minute courses, general education courses, and special courses will be accelerated with greater efforts and more input. Explorations will be made into the mechanism and mode of digital learning resources jointly constructed and shared by diversified and multiple subjects.

(IV) Credit Bank

1. Goals and Pursuits

Credit bank construction will be promoted in a comprehensive way to formulate effective application mode at a faster pace so as to serve as a bridge and link for OUC education and teaching reform and the lifelong learning “flyover” construction. The credit bank system will be improved by strengthening the foundation construction of the credit bank and making explorations into its mode and innovations in its operation mechanism. The aim is to realise the accreditation, accumulation and transfer of various kinds of learning results and to facilitate the communication and connection of degree and non-degree education.

1. Policies and Measures

Implementing the “Credit Bank Construction Project”.

----Establishing the “Foundation Construction Plan of the Credit Bank”: Comprehensive construction of the OUC’s credit bank system framework and its operation mechanism is to be continued, with priority given to the construction of accreditation standards and transfer rules. The construction of the credit bank information platform, service standard, process specification and work team will be promoted. Credit bank operation will be digitalised and intelligentised and its social service pilot will be launched. The management committee, quality committee, and standard committee for credit bank construction will be organised.

----Constructing the “Credit Bank Application and Extension Plan”: The OUC’s credit bank is to be encouraged to cooperate with industrial enterprises, communities, social education training institutions, colleges and universities, vocational schools and so on to establish credit accreditation alliances, and to promote standard application, resource sharing and credit transfer. The credit bank accreditation system with headquarters, sub-centres, and accreditation sites is to be constructed to serve the accreditation, accumulation and transfer of learning outcomes. The aim is to register over 10 million credit bank accounts.

(V) Education and Teaching Research

1. Goals and Pursuits

The education and teaching research mechanism is to be reformed and innovated to strengthen the construction of research teams and platforms, and to create a first-class national and world-famous distance open education research base and high ground. Efforts are to be made to grasp the rules for education development and talent growth, and to conduct education and teaching research with the OUC characteristics. It is essential for the research to be centered on major issues concerning institutions and mechanisms related to development constraints, overall situations, and of great concern. The value of the research results will be judged by whether they can support school development undertakings, leaders’ decisions, reform and construction, and public opinion. Typical practical experiences will be continuously summarised and refined to promote the transformation of theoretical research and practical results into university institutions and education and teaching designs.

2. Policies and Measures

Implementing the “Open and Distance Education Research Project”.

----Establishing the “World Open and Distance Education Development Research Plan”: Research is to be furthered on the history, reality, policies and trends of global open and distance education, and on the development mode, status quo and tendencies of open universities. Wide research will be done on the theory, practice and major events of online education, lifelong education, and distance education. A book series on world open universities will be published in Chinese and English.

----Establishing the “Open and Distance Education Development Research Plan in China”: Research will be intensified on the history, reality, policy and trends of open and distance education in China. Reform and innovation research will be strengthened on basic theories, institutions and mechanisms, cultivation modes, teaching contents and course systems around the RTVU system and how they relate to transformation and open university construction. An annual report on open and distance education in China will be issued.

----Establishing the “Strategic Decision and Planning Think Tank Construction Plan”: Relevant national and international intellectual resources will be absorbed and integrated to build the research consultation, decision support and high-end think tanks for strategic planning, reform and development, and major events of the university. Construction of the comprehensive interdisciplinary research platform will be promoted to organise the new-type interdisciplinary research team made up of experts from both inside and outside the university system for the research of major core issues.

(VI) Non-degree Education

1. Goals and Pursuits

To adapt to the new trend of economic and social development and to meet the diversified and individualised learning needs of society, the non-degree education training mechanism is to be improved to explore development modes for non-degree education, to build the characteristic brands of elderly education, community education, vocational training and others, and to upgrade the ability and level to serve the society.

2. Policies and Measures

Implementing “Non-Degree Education Promotion Project”.

----Establishing the “Elderly Education Promotion Plan”: Foundational construction of the Open University for Older Adults will be enhanced to improve the organisational structure, to explore the institution and mechanism of building the Open University for Older Adults with all concerned parties. Relevant tasks specified in the Development Plan for Elderly Education (2016-2020) are to be fulfilled to construct the experience base for healthy art education for the elderly, to promote the training for employees in the eldercare industry, and to create featured service items for the elderly. The “elderly education network in China” is to be well constructed to build characterised learning resources for the elderly.

----Establishing the “Community Learning Promotion Plan”: The role of the MOE Research and Training Centre for Community Education will be brought into full play to construct the OUC’s community education experiment centre (base) and “i-experiment” in cooperation with local governments, urban and rural communities and others. “The community education network in China” is to be well built to develop community education resources to conform to the diversified learning needs of various community learners, and to intensify the popularisation and application of community education resources.

----Establishing the “Non-Degree Education Training Outreach Plan”: Various vocational training, on-the-job training, certificate education and other non-degree training projects will be carried out in wide cooperation with all concerned parties. The key is to accomplish a high-quality degree and capacity improvement action plan for migrant workers, “National Training Plan” for Primary and Secondary School Teachers, women’s lifelong learning plan for a colourful life, and other plans to enhance the construction of the continuing education base for national-level professional and technical personnel.

(VII) International Exchange and Cooperation

1. Goals and Pursuits

Based on the upgrading of the ranks of China’s open universities in international open and distance education, multiple measures will be taken to push international exchange and cooperation onto a new stage, to constantly improve the exchange level, to expand the cooperation field, to serve the implementation of “Belt and Road” national strategy, to explore new modes for international Chinese language education and the spread of Chinese culture, to promote the Online Confucius Institute, to significantly improve the OUC’s international influence and competence, and to integrate further into the world education reform and development trends.

2. Policies and Measures

Implementing the “International Exchange and Cooperation Project”.

----Establishing the “International Exchange Promotion Plan”: Exchanges with foreign open universities are to be enhanced, to push forward the reciprocal employment of teaching staff, and to actively send personnel abroad for further study as visiting scholars. Introduction of high-end international talents will be strengthened to actively invite famous international experts and scholars to the university to give lectures and work as visiting scholars and full-time or part-time teachers. Quality course resources are to be exported, and quality international education course resources are to be introduced as well so as to facilitate credit transfer of the courses. High-level international academic conferences are to be held for the purpose of improving the OUC’s academic status and international influence.

----Establishing the “International Cooperation Upgrading Plan”. The OUC will take an active part in the relevant activities of UNESCO and play a significant role in the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU) and other international organisations to improve the overall image of China’s open universities. The OUC’s overseas schools will be constructed in cooperation with countries along the “Belt and Road”. Positive international cooperative research will be conducted.

----Establishing the “International Chinese Language Education 2.0 Plan”: Efforts will be made to construct international Chinese language education resources and teacher training bases, to develop a high-level network learning platform and to provide other Confucius institutes with technical support and service in international Chinese language education. The Confucius Institute at Michigan State University will be well managed to push forward the construction development of online Confucius Institutes. Exploration will be made to search for new modes for international students’ study-tour and study in China.

IV. Guarantee Measures

(I) Strengthening Organisational Leadership

A plan will be made to put in place the “No. 1 leader” responsibility system. The steering group for the OUC’s reform and construction in the 13th Five-Year Plan period will be established to take the responsibility for the overall leadership, integrated coordination, systematic advancement, and supervisory implementation of the 13th Five-Year Plan. The university’s planned project management office (“project office” for short) will be established for unified organisation and implementation of the plans. It is responsible for the management of task, progress, funding and supervision of all the project plans, as well as the organisation of special discussions on major issues related to the plans. Full-time staff is arranged for and the work mechanism is improved to earnestly ensure the effective advancement of the major projects.

(II) Improving Implementation Mechanism

Tasks related to these plans are to be resolved by each department of the headquarters, each branch and school to be fixed in their annual and daily work, to define the responsible persons, task assignments, road maps, and timetables, to formulate the task transfer mechanism, and to ensure the fulfillment of the responsibilities and tasks. The project office leads the implementation of the plans, and each headquarters department, branch and school must send reports on the implementation progress of the plans to the project office. The project office will gather the information in a timely manner and report to the university’s reform and construction plans steering group. A good environment will thus be created for implementation of the plans, and for publicity and real-time reports on their new experiences and progresses.

(III) Guaranteed Fund Investment

Various methods will be used to raise funds to ensure the fund input necessitated by the comprehensive implementation of the plans. The planned budget totals 1.5 billion yuan. The headquarters will make a scientific verification and overall calculation of all the funds needed to implement the project plans and include them in the university’s overall budget for orderly implementation of the yearly plans. Each branch and school will provide the relevant matched funding to ensure the implementation of the plans in their own branches and schools. The supervision of the fund spending is intensified to practise “centralised management by specialised departments, independent budget, fund use as earmarked, and final accounts made known to the public”, and to strengthen audit supervision and risk prevention.

(IV) Improved Policy Support

The relevant systems involving the implementation of the plans will be improved. Each branch and school is supported and encouraged to formulate relevant implementation rules in combination with their own realities. The plan management information platform is constructed to intensify the dynamic management, real-time tracking, and information acquisition of the implementation of the plans. The supervision team will be improved to set up a supervision, control and evaluation mechanism. The responsibility assessment method is formulated to clarify the reward and punishment mechanism and incentive mechanism, pegging the appraisal results to performance evaluation, selection and appointment of cadres, and resource allocation.

Written: Sun Fuwan, Editor: Yan Jingzhen, OUC