On 23 December, the Meeting of the Open University of China (OUC) to Advance Reform and Development in 2021 was convened in Beijing. The purpose of the meeting was to study and implement the guiding principles of the fifth and sixth Plenary Sessions of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), to investigate and deploy key tasks for 2022, and to accelerate the construction of world-class open universities with Chinese characteristics for high-quality development.

Jing Degang, secretary of the Party Committee and president of the OUC, deployed work for 2022; Cao Guoyong, executive deputy secretary of the OUC Party Committee, presided over the meeting; and Ju Chuanjin, vice president gave a report.


Jing Degang deploying work for 2022


Cao Guoyong presiding over the meeting


Ju Chuanjin delivering a report

The meeting emphasised the importance of the guiding ideology and development ideas of the 14th Five-Year Plan period for the development of the undertakings of open universities. It underscored the necessity of following the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, of holding high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and of fully implementing the guiding principles of the 19th CPC National Congress and all its plenary sessions. The OUC will thoroughly implement the guiding principles of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important speech delivered at the meeting to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China and his important remarks on education. It will put in place the guiding principles of the National Education Conference and the National Vocational Education Conference to put into effect the OUC Comprehensive Reform Plan and the guiding principles of the First Party Congress of the OUC. It is necessary to ground the OUC’s work in this new stage of development, apply the new development philosophy, foster a new pattern of development, promote high-quality development, and make the university into a world-class open university with Chinese characteristics. The OUC will maintain its efforts to serve the educational trends of major national and regional development strategies, industrial development, and the construction of an educational system serving lifelong learning for all by freeing our minds, achieving reform and innovation, and delivering stability while making progress. It will continue to prioritise both degree education and non-degree education, develop full-time education in parallel with part-time education, and give play to the advantages of integrated education. It will bring together quality education resources, and adhere to running education in the vast land of China by making the improvement of education quality its lifeline. With the implantation of the 1233 Project, the OUC has promoted the “four transformations,” which is driving high-quality development.

The meeting stressed the need to uphold the overall leadership of the Party over the university’s reform and development, to adhere to a socialist direction in running the university, to follow the public welfare principles of open education, to maintain the positioning of institutions of higher learning, to ensure the perspective of learners, to keep deepening reform, to sustain innovative development, to continue to apply systematic thinking, and stick to the traction of projects. By the end of 2025, the OUC will be largely transformed into a world-class open university with Chinese characteristics, becoming a major platform for lifelong education, a major platform for online education, a platform for flexible education, and a platform for international cooperation. The OUC will play an irreplaceable role in serving lifelong learning for all.

Ju Chuanjin delivered a work report on the plan for the 14th Five-Year Plan period entitled “Enhancing Cohesion in the New Stage for Coordinated Endeavours on the New Journey to Promote the High-Quality Development of Open Universities.” He deployed 11 major tasks, nine major projects, and 14 plans to be completed from four fronts to promote high-quality development during the 14th Five-Year Plan period of open education.

The first is to build a high-quality talent development system. By focusing on the task of training highly competent teachers, the OUC will implement the project of building highly competent teachers, and put into effect the plan for building teachers’ ethics, the OUC training plan for famous teachers, and the incentive and guarantee plan for teachers to strengthen the introduction of high-level talent. By focusing on the task of improving the quality of talent development, the OUC will carry out the project of high-quality talent formation to establish and improve the quality assurance system. It will put into operation the plan for the specialty construction of open education, the plan for the establishment of degree vocational education (application technology college), and the plan for the development and application of quality learning resources. It will explore postgraduate education, prioritise the improvement of the overall quality of students, provide quality education services to specific groups, and develop vocational secondary education. By focusing on the task of advancing the construction of a smart OUC, the OUC will build an intelligent education platform, research and develop a customised “digital teacher” system serving lifelong learning, create demonstrative and intelligent study centres, and improve the guarantee system for a smart OUC. By focusing on the task of enhancing the construction of disciplines and majors, it will strengthen the construction project of disciplines and majors and the construction plan for key disciplines and majors, and develop the MOE Research and Development Centre for the Integration and Application of Digital Learning Technologies. By focusing on the task of deepening the integration of industry and education and cooperation between enterprises and colleges, it will improve the system and mechanism of running the university in cooperation with industries (enterprises) and steadily promoting the construction of industry (enterprise) colleges.

The second is to expand the scope of high-quality social services. By focusing on the task of developing strong social education, the OUC will carry out the project of developing strong social education to create a new model of social training, and to open up a new prospect in community education. By focusing on improving the quality of education for older adults, the OUC will put into practice the construction project of the National University for Older Adults, issue its construction scheme, define its orientation, main tasks, management system, and operation mechanism, and build a high-quality national demonstration base for education for older adults. The OUC will implement the credit bank construction and application project, carry out the operation plan for the National Credit Bank for Vocational Education, and explore the application practices of the credit bank.

The third is to form an efficient university governance system. By focusing on the task of strengthening the Party’s overall leadership and Party building, the OUC will carry out the project to improve the capacity of cadres, to rationally allocate personnel, and to enforce the plan for cadre building. It will strengthen the education, supervision, and assessment of cadres and build a contingent of high-quality professional cadres with both political integrity and professional competency. By focusing on the task of improving the integrated national system and mechanism for open education, it will implement the project to promote the integrated operation of the university, and bring into force the assistance plan for the development of community-level open universities and the construction plan for regional centres.

The fourth is to write a new chapter for international education. By focusing on upgrading the level of international education, the OUC will implement an international capacity improvement project and put into effect the plan for the construction and design of overseas study centres, plan for international exchanges and studies, and plan for the cultivation of international talent.

Chen Xingyan, Party secretary of Fujian Open University; Yang Junhui, deputy Party secretary and president of Sichuan Open University; Zhao Jihong, Party secretary and president of Henan Open University; Zhang Jianguo, deputy Party secretary and president of Zhejiang open university; Li Qun, Party secretary of Ningbo Open University; and Wang Huanbin Party secretary of Taizhou Radio and TV University, gave speeches about their ideas and experiences.

Ningbo Open University and its schools in Cixi and Xiangshan showed off their front-line operations via video.

Jing Degang gave a speech entitled “Prioritise Stability While Also Pursuing Progress to Promote the High-Quality Development of Open Universities Directed by the Guiding Principles of the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee.” He summarised the work that had been undertaken in 2021 and deployed work for 2022. He pointed out that the OUC educational system has balanced both Covid-19 epidemic prevention and control and the development of its cause, and coordinated both development and security imperatives in the face of the wider context of once-in-a-century changes. The OUC has stayed true to its original aspiration and forged ahead. The OUC Comprehensive Reform Plan has been brought into effect nationwide, new achievements have been made in the high-quality development of open education, and new horizons have been opened up for the development of the 14th Five-Year-Plan period.

Jing Degang stated that the overall idea for work in 2022 is to follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, fully implement the guiding principles of the 19th National Congress of the CPC and all its plenary sessions, champion the great founding spirit of the Party, coordinate epidemic prevention and control, security and stability, and the development of the OUC cause. It will fully put into practice the 14th Five-Year Plan to develop the OUC’s cause to put stability before everything else. It will lay a solid foundation for the improvement of quality by maintaining stability while also making breakthroughs. It will promote high quality development with reform in greater depth to welcome the successful convening of the 20th CPC National Congress.

Jing Degang pointed out that the OUC will focus on stability, seek breakthroughs in progress, and see the advancement of “stability in six fronts and progress in eight aspects” in 2022.

The OUC will seek stability in educational factors. The first is to stabilise the scale of the university’s capacity by adjusting its enrolment structure and make overall plans for enrolment. The second is to stabilise order in the teaching process by standardising teaching organisation and implementation, strictly managing examinations, and checking risks and hidden dangers. The third is to stabilise ideology in work on students by making sustained efforts to foster virtue through education, remaining committed to enhancing the attraction and influence of ideological and political courses, and continuing to promote the effect of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era in textbooks, classes, and thought. The fourth is to stabilise the grassroots in system construction by giving continuous support to the construction of community-level open universities and the improvement of their operation capacity. The fifth is to stabilise campus security by ensuring the safety of teachers and students, the security of the epidemic prevention and control, and the security of network information. The sixth is to stabilise emotions in teaching staff by doing more to increase positive energy and to rally the OUC educational system.

The OUC will also seek progress in high-quality development. The first is to seek achievements in the results of Party building. It will strengthen the planning, deployment, assessment, and implementation of Party building together with professional work, and intensify the construction of Party branches so that they can play key roles. The second is to seek progress in both teaching and learning through education and teaching reform. It will centre its attention on teaching and learning to enhance teachers’ sense of achievements, students’ sense of belonging, and the public’s sense of social identity. It will move away from “matching teaching to the ability of the students” to “matching teaching to the aspiration of the students”, giving the initiative to the students, and making teaching and learning more characteristic of the times and more suitable for the requirements of the times. The third is to seek progress in key areas of building universities for older adults. It will carefully examine and reposition universities for older adults, promote the construction of the universities on the new journey toward the Second Centenary Goal within the broad context of a healthy China and as part of the common vision of a community with a shared future for mankind. In accordance with the Construction Plan of the National University for Older Adults, it will develop six key programmes and six key projects, and further improve the curriculum design and curriculum system. The fourth is to seek progress in the support and guarantee of information technology. It will fully put to use the “one route, one network, and one platform” to make a one-stop management and service platform. It will accelerate the construction of a smart OUC, and modernise open education using information technology. The fifth is to seek progress in the practical use and easy application of learning resources. In line with the basic requirements of being useful and easy to learn, it will create a curriculum system popular with the audience. It will also make use of excellent learning resources in China and around the world. The sixth is to seek progress in putting people first with a consistent approach dedicated to teachers and students. It will focus on helping students find a sense of belonging and to improve their sense of fulfilment. It will be kind to teachers in order to help them feel peace of mind and warmth at heart. The seventh is to seek progress in upgrading the level of scientific research and internationalisation. By being oriented towards solving practical problems, scientific research will aim to service decision-making and lead the overall improvement of the education and teaching level. It will accelerate the in-depth development of internationalisation, and boost the modernisation of open education through internationalisation. The eighth is to seek progress in the core competence of non-degree education. It will return to its main responsibilities and business to build the “four platforms,” and build open universities into a major support for the national lifelong education system.

Jing Degang underscored the need to strive to build an open university culture that prioritises stability while also pursuing progress by building a culture of hard work that is represented by firm faith, resolute implementation, responsible efforts, surmounting difficulties, sincere unity, and strict self-discipline. The OUC will always maintain a three-pronged spirit, that is, a spirit of serving the people, of blazing new trails in development, and of engaging in arduous struggle. It will maintain the courage to innovate and be a vibrant pioneer. The OUC will join together with its partners and staff to work towards a shared future and let the breeze of openness bring warmth to the world.

In presiding over the meeting, Cao Guoyong pointed out that the important task of the meeting was to further strengthen the ideological foundation for unity, build consensus, and clarify the work ideas, direction for reform, and work priorities during the 14th Five-Year-Plan period, especially those for the next year. In 2022, the OUC will act on the general principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability in order to focus on work priorities to achieve high-quality development. It is hoped that all the people present at the meeting will understand and grasp the guiding principles of the meeting in order to seek progress while pursuing stability, to pay close attention to implementation, and to work together to write a new chapter for the high-quality development of the OUC.

The meeting was held via video and offline. All the OUC leaders, mid-level cadres, and major responsible people of enterprises directly affiliated attended the meeting in person, leaders of local open universities and their mid-level cadres attended the meeting via video link, and units of the OUC educational system watched via live streaming.

Written by Jin Hongyu and photographed by Weng Jianbin and Zhuge Huanyu, OUC