The OUC's Guangzhou Branch recently held a training class for full-time teachers of older adults, the 1st of its kind in Guangzhou.

The event's aims included addressing the issue of an aging population (a national concern) and the construction of a system of continuing education, as well as the professional development of teachers of older adults and the technical and administrative personnel in institutions offering such teaching, as proposed at the National Education Conference and in the Development Plan for Elderly Education (2016-2020). Other aims included promoting the development of education for seniors and improving the quality of full-time teachers. Over 60 such teachers from 21 colleges of the Guangzhou Open University for Older Adults attended.

Xiong Jun, president of the Guangzhou branch, stated three requirements for the education for older adults. The first was to believe in the elderly, and move step by step to provide them with teaching. All members of the Guangzhou Open University for Older Adults should remain true to the original purpose of the organisation, and understand that, while youngsters represent the future, they too will become seniors, and can continue to contribute to the nation. The second was to strive to put knowledge into action, learning by doing, and teaching seniors practical skills. The third was to encourage innovation, cutting costs while maintaining the quality of education. He also stressed that four areas would require innovation. First, education resources should be integrated, and the supply and scale of education for senior adults expanded. Second, teachers with high levels of both ethics and competence should be identified for training, and innovations should be made in the design of courses and the curriculum. Third, cultural heritage should be emphasised, with a development unique to the cultural resources of Guangzhou, and integrating tourism, education and health care. Fourth, digital technologies such AR, VR and big data should be exploited in education of older adults.

Representatives of famous universities, including East China Normal University, South China Normal University, and Ningbo University were invited to give lectures, and six teacher representatives from the Guangzhou Open University for Older Adults discussed their teaching experiences. The participants said they learned a lot from the training, and became more knowledgeable and proficient as instructors of older adults.

By Guangzhou Branch