On 20 July 2020, the opening ceremony for the MBA major, the first major of the OUC China-Germany Joint Master’s Degree Programme jointly launched by the Open University of China (OUC), the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg (OVGU), and the Beijing International Institute of Asia-Europe Education and Culture (AEEC) was held at the training base of the AEEC China-Germany Joint Master’s Degree Programme.

Yang Xiaotang, vice president of the OUC; Liu Zhanrong, director of the OUC’s International Department; Liu Zhimin, director of the OUC’s Faculty of Economics and Management; Liu Zhifang, vice director of the OUC’s Faculty of Economics and Management; and Qi Kun, vice dean of the OUC Experimental School, attended the opening ceremony. Participants of the ceremony also included Shi Zhanqian, former secretary of the Party committee of the Statistics Education and Training Centre under the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and AEEC consultant, and Yao Bo, president of the AEEC, as well as all faculty involved and all students related to the programme. Yao Bo presided over the opening ceremony.

Shi Zhanqian introduced the China-Germany Joint Master’s Degree Programme. The programme is designed to train statistics professionals . It is approved by the NBS and carried out in cooperation with the German Ministry of Education. Since enrolment for the statistical system started 20 years ago in 2000, the programme has created good social benefit, with trainees of the programme winning high recognition from employers. Mr. Shi then introduced the NBS and the OUC’s cooperation in degree education at the junior college and postgraduate levels over the past 30 years, and the contributions made by the cooperative programme to the training of professionals in the statistical system and the improvement of educational qualifications. He also presented information about OVGU, including its facilities, campus environment, and talent training quality, and shared his impressions of his many site visits. On these grounds, he hoped that all students would seize this opportunity, study hard, and lay a solid knowledge foundation for their studies. He encouraged students to return to China and devote themselves to national construction after they finish studying.

Yang Xiaotang expressed his gratitude to all the students who have chosen to participate in the China-Germany Joint Master’s Programme. He pointed out that the programme has already been in operation for 18 cycles. In this time, many innovations have been made. As one of the joint educational providers of the programme, the OUC will give four specialised courses to students prior to their study in Germany. He introduced the OUC, as well as its preparations for the teaching work of the four specialised courses: Introduction to Economics, Economic Status Statistics, Macro Economics, and Business Mathematics. The OUC has employed four experienced professors and associate professors from the University of International Business and Economics, Northeast Normal University, and Beijing Wuzi University to give lectures to the students. It has also assigned one to two teaching assistants for each course. Comprehensive teaching services, including carefully selected teaching content and elaborately designed courseware, are provided for each student in order to give them a rich and satisfactory learning experience. He pointed out that COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on society, daily life, education, economy and politics, and overseas study is no exception. Prior learning courses are included in this new cycle, with the hope of bridging the study gap and making future studies easier for everyone. Finally, he introduced the OUC's concept of open education, lifelong education, and self-directed learning, and encouraged students to establish a concept of self-regulated learning and adapt to the teaching style in Germany as soon as possible. Furthermore, he wished the students a smooth study trip and hope that they achieve success in their studies, while encouraging them to return to China to participate in its construction after they finish learning.

Liu Zhanrong introduced the work deployment for the OUC and OVGU master's degree courses and introduced the features of teaching in German universities. He hoped that students will adapt to the new teaching methods they encounter and develop self-directed learning strategies and habits as soon as possible. Liu Zhimin and Liu Zhifang talked about cooperation on the programme, as well as the arrangements and preparation for the teaching of the four courses. Qi Kun introduced a plan to promote the programme in the OUC system in the future.

After the ceremony, Yang Xiaotang held a discussion about the follow-up promotion of the programme with relevant persons in charge of the AEEC. Both sides said that they would continue to cooperate, expand publicity efforts, and strive to expand the scope of the cooperation.

The China-Germany Joint Master’s Degree Programme is a postgraduate training programme jointly carried out by the OUC, OVGU, and the AEEC. The first major selected for the first phase of the cooperation is an MBA programme. The training scheme for the major has been jointly determined by the OVGU and the OUC. All the courses are taught in English and an OVGU master’s degree certificate will be issued to students when they complete their studies. The OUC is responsible for the teaching of four courses in one semester in China, while OVGU takes care of the teaching of two-year courses in Germany. The AEEC is in charge of developing students' English listening and speaking abilities, interview and examination skills, making preparations for review by the embassy, and providing survival Germany language classes before the students go abroad.

By Qi Kun and Chen Na, OUC