On 27th October, 2016, the inaugural conference of the Working Committee for Elderly Education of Shandong Adult Education Association (short for Shandong AEA), as well as a seminar on education for the elderly within the Radio and Television University (RTVU) system in Shandong province, was held in Decheng district, Dezhou City, Shandong province, officially kicking off a pilot programme for education for the elderly in the Shandong RTVU System.

In response to the development needs of education for the elderly in Shandong province, Shandong RTVU will capitalise on its advantages in network-based information technology and learning resources to open universities for the elderly that integrate the teaching methods of online self-study and offline instruction. They will mainly cover disciplines like calligraphy, painting, dance, music, basic computer knowledge, smart phone use, health care, household finance, inter-generation education, domestic services, tourism, and legal rights protection.

Shandong RTVU president and chairman of Shandong AEA, Li Qingmin, pointed out at the meeting that elderly education is an important part of lifelong education for all and that the RTVU system should strengthen communication and cooperation with institutions of education for the elderly at all levels, and promote the in-depth integration of education for the elderly in terms of platforms, resources, and services. The whole of the Shandong RTVU system should conscientiously study and implement the requirements set out in the Development Plan for Elderly Education (2016-2020) issued by the office of the State Council, improve understanding of the significance of developing education for the elderly in the RTVU system, and actively undertake the task of carrying out education for the elderly in Shandong province. As part of the RTVU’s pilot work in elderly education, we should choose trial institutions carefully and carry out practical work at these trial institutions before gradually extending the work to the grassroots level, so that within three to five years RTVU elderly education will be fully connected and spread across the entire RTVU system in Shandong.

A deputy director, a secretary general and a deputy secretary general for the work committee on elderly education of Shandong AEA were elected at the meeting. Deputy secretary general of Shandong RTVU, vice president of Shandong AEA, and director of the Working Committee of Elderly Education, Zhou Zijian, noted that the AEA’s working committee on senior education should improve its understanding of elderly education, be ready to take responsibility, actively take action, and conduct practical explorations and theoretical research into education for the elderly in Shandong province.

The meeting pointed out that the pilot work should emphasise the following eight aspects. The first is to raise awareness and strengthen leadership. Careful studies of the spirit of relevant documents should be carried out, and the importance and urgency of the development of the elderly education in the RTVU system should be fully recognised. The second is to actively work with the government and the relevant departments to strengthen ties and communication, and gain policy support. The third is to follow the rules and seek innovation and development, to follow the rules of the development of education for the elderly, and strengthen theoretical research, in order to ensure that elderly people can pursue their studies, that there are enough teachers for them, that they have access to medical care, that they are taken care of, that they lead a happy life, and that they can make their own achievements. The fourth is to improve the conditions to facilitate learning, to further improve the conditions for opening universities for the elderly, and to strengthen the construction of teaching facilities according to the characteristics of the elderly cohort. The fifth is to create a quality teaching team and develop universities for the elderly with their own characteristics. The pilot units should adhere to the principle of using a combination of full time and part-time teachers, and establish a teaching team that understands and appreciates the characteristics of the elderly. The sixth is to enrich resources and to encourage the construction of resources. The pilot units need to develop policies and measures, highlight pertinence and practicality, and support the construction of learning resources to enhance the attractiveness of the programmes to the elderly. The seventh is to form a team to promote exchange, to help the elderly who participate in learning to establish a learning organisation, and build a bridge between life and learning. The eighth is to put plans in places to prevent incidents before they really happen. The pilot units should consider various factors and possible emergencies according to the characteristics of the elderly and develop preventive measures and emergency plans.

Relevant leaders from the Working Committee for the Elderly in Shandong Province, the Private Education and Continuing Education Division of Shandong Department of Education, Shandong AEA, Dezhou municipal government, and Decheng district government attended the meeting. More than 70 elderly education workers from 31 pilot units in education for the elderly from general colleges and universities, vocational colleges, social training institutions, community educational institutions and the RTVU system in Shandong province attended the meeting, which was presided over by Zhu Xianzhen, vice president of Shandong RTVU.

By Shandong RTVU