Open Universities have experienced four years of exploration since the Ministry of Education’s approval of their establishment in 2012.

The major tasks and objectives of open universities are to improve education quality and to build the education brand. The MOE’s Opinions on Operating Open Universities Well says that the open universities must put quality first and strive to achieve a “tolerant entrance and strict exit” policy. At the teaching conference of the Open University of China (OUC) held on September 28-29, 2016, President Yang Zhijian also underlined that a key to the OUC’s quest “to survive and thrive” is to constantly improve the quality of learner development. No quality, no reputation, no reputation, no brand, and no brand, no future. Thus it can be seen that quality is the eternal lifeline of open universities.

The prerequisite to advance quality building is to understand the core characteristics of open universities. Open universities in China are a new type of higher education institution serving lifelong learning for all. They are different from traditional adult and vocational universities and colleges, and from the radio and TV universities (RTVUs) and international open universities. The learning is targeted to all adult members of society; the training is mainly given in a part-time format; on-the-job learning is commonly made available in various ways at flexible times with the combination of distance online learning and face-to-face tutorial; and equal priority is given to non-degree and degree continuing educations. These characteristics determine that advancing the quality building of open universities is bound to require complex and systematic work.

The key to creating a quality brand is to strengthen the construction of open universities. It is essential to build and improve the modern university system, to improve the Internet-based governance system, and to upgrade governance capacity; to strengthen the construction of the teaching faculty, including those in teaching research, management, and service, and especially the full-time teachers; to perfect the infrastructure construction of information technology; to upgrade the application level of information technology, to enhance the construction of study centres, and to improve the learner support system; to elevate the level of scientific and teaching research; to strengthen international exchanges and cooperation, and to learn from typical and advanced international experience; to engage in extensive collaboration with the government, university, industry, enterprise, community and other institutions for joint school cooperation, to promote the reform of the learner development model, to upgrade the adaptability and practicability of specialty courses in various disciplines, and to try to create a new brand of open universities with Chinese characteristics.

The secret to improving brand reputation is ensuring the “gold content” of diplomas. To open universities, the practice of “entrance through registration, tolerant entrance and strict exit” is both an advantage and a challenge. The reputation and value of education in open universities does not lie in self-recognition or self-promotion, but depends on public recognition and evaluation, especially recognition of the quality of the graduates by the public. We often say that open universities are “universities around you and me”. If you want to know their reputation, please just go to the people. For, you see, word of mouth means brand, so maybe they are the most qualified to have a say.

By Wang Yongfeng,OUC
Source: China RTVU News