From 25 to 27 October 2023, the Open University of China (OUC) proudly hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Workshop on Digital Competency of Younger Older Adults.

This esteemed event convened 10 distinguished speakers from five APEC member economies within the Asia-Pacific. Additionally, almost a hundred experts and scholars from premier universities and open universities throughout China joined the discussions. Together, they delved into fostering digital competency, bolstering re-employment opportunities, and enhancing the well-being of younger older adults in our rapidly digitizing world. They also took the opportunity to exchange insights from their own experiences.

The opening ceremony was graced by remarks from prominent figures. These included Wu Jinsong, deputy director-general from the Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges of China's Ministry of Education; Wang Qiming, secretary of the Party Committee and president of the OUC; Rosanna Urdaneta, Capacity Building Network (CBN) Coordinator of APEC Human Resources Development Working Group (HRDWG) and also deputy director-general for Policies and Planning at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in the Philippines; Halimatus Sakdiah Minhat, director of MyAgeing at the Malaysian Research Institute on Ageing, Universiti Purta Malaysia; and Zhao Yuchi, APEC Education Network coordinator and executive director of the International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education  under the auspices of UNESCO.

Under the direction of China's MOE’s Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges, the OUC spearheaded the application for an international collaborative research project in October 2022. This project, titled "Fostering Digital Competency, Building Re-Employment Capacity, and Enhancing Well-being for Older Adults in the Digital Economy," has successfully secured approval from the APEC Budget and Management Committee for 2022. In line with APEC's stipulations, the project will conduct four activities during its tenure, and this workshop is one of them.

As the project overseer, Fan Xianrui presented an update on the APEC project's progress. Several prominent individuals also delivered keynote speeches. These included Wu Feng, a professor at Peking University, China; TO DUC, general director of the Social Protection Department at the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs in Viet Nam; Tan Szu Tak, a senior officer in Special Level Education from the Ministry of Education in Brunei Darussalam; Liu Wenqing, deputy secretary of the Party Committee and president of Guangdong Open University; Niti Mekmok, president of the Thai IoT Association; Halimatus Sakdiah Minhat, director of MyAgeing at the Malaysian Research Institute on Ageing, Universiti Purta Malaysia; Yuan Dayong, deputy dean of the Graduate School of Education at Beijing Foreign Studies University; Feng Lian, secretary of the Party Committee at Chengdu Open University; and Liu Zhifang, dean of the OUC Faculty of Economics and Management.

During the workshop, we also unveiled several phased achievements of the project. These include the research report titled "Older Adults in the Era of Digitalization: A Survey of Digital Competency and Skills for Older Adults in the Asia-Pacific Region". Additionally, three micro-credential courses were introduced: "Digital Skills in the Digital Age", "Design and Development of Online Courses for Older Adults", and "Motivating Older Adults for Online Learning".


Written by Zhang Yi and Hou Songyan and photographed by Zhuge Huanyu, OUC