If you are admitted to University A, you can now take University A's credits with you to University B. You no longer have to study subjects again at a different university if you have passed the self-study examination of the subjects. If you have participated in volunteer service, you do not have to attend relevant courses... All these things are no longer fantasies.

On September 19, 2016, the Ministry of Education (MOE) issued Opinions on Promoting the Accreditation and Transfer of Higher Education Credits. According to the Opinions, in the future, students from ordinary colleges and universities, higher vocational colleges, and adult colleges will not only obtain credits for courses in their own colleges, but could also gain credits by other means, such as studying the courses of other universities, attending self-study exams of higher education, and transferring non-degree learning outcomes. Others could also gain credits by taking courses in colleges and universities, attending higher education self-study exams, and transferring non-degree learning outcomes. After being approved by the relevant colleges, their credits gained through the above means could be certified to be recognised.

By 2020, the system of the accreditation and transfer of higher education credits will have been further improved. The national public service platform will be basically founded; the talent growth "flyover" (bridge) will be gradually improved; resources for continuing education and lifelong learning will be more abundant; the means more flexible, and the channels more smooth, providing strong support for building a learning-oriented society in which all the people will learn and pursue lifelong learning.
  
Fences among colleges and universities are disappearing

Course selection across the universities moves closer to reality

Many colleges and universities are in close proximity to each other. It is common for college students to attend the classes of adjacent universities. In the future, attending classes in other universities may not be only for personal reasons, but can also help students accumulate credits recognized by their own university.

According to the Opinions issued by MOE, pilot work should be actively carried out to support colleges and universities located in the same area and at the same level. The course accreditation procedures should be simplified through the mutual selection and recognition of courses, setting up open courses, student exchanges, and joint learner development to increase the scope of course accreditation and expand opportunities for students to take courses at other universities. Different universities are encouraged to formulate learner development schemes and course linkage standards to carry out joint cooperation in learner development and credit accreditation/transfer. Ordinary colleges and universities, higher vocational colleges, and adult colleges and universities are encouraged to set up course-based credit accreditation pilot programs to explore the channels and mechanism of mutual integration of general education, vocational education, and adult education. Credit accreditation and transfer between degree continuing education and full-time education in universities should be explored. The universities with good facilities are encouraged to open courses with high teaching quality and standard management norms to the public via the online form, attempting to carry out a course registration and course credit-based payment system.

Credit accreditation and transfer between universities will be based on the courses. Students of various universities who have met the requirements of courses in other universities could have their credits transferred into the corresponding course credits of their own university after approval. For the course studies at other colleges and universities, the university where the student studies should check whether the teaching goals, teaching contents, teaching hours, and assessment standards meet the teaching requirements, whether the teaching level and teaching conditions are well qualified, and evaluate whether the course is consistent with the requirements for related courses, so as to ensure that what the students have learned in other universities meets the requirements of the equivalent courses in terms of knowledge, skills, and levels.
  
Self-study courses may replace the credits of their own universities

Other important parts of the Opinions include: innovation in higher education self-study exam credit accreditation and transfer; expanding the application scope of the use of higher education self-study exam credits; facilitating learners using autonomous learning to receive higher education.

In Opinions, it was stated that accreditation and transfer of credits of higher education self-study exams in different majors, different provinces, different colleges/universities, and between degree and non-degree education should be improved to promote the credits of these universities being recognised by higher education self-study exams. It is the first time for the Opinions to put forward exploring a way to transfer the self-study higher education examination credits to credits of general colleges and universities. As long as you attend higher education self-study exams and reach a certain level, what the student has learned can be transferred to corresponding credits after being recognised by the universities. The reform should be carried out to improve the exam contents and forms of generic class and basic courses; promote the recognition of self-study exam results by more universities; constantly expand the use scope of the self-study exam results; and meet the needs of the learners for gaining credits by taking the self-study exams.

In promoting the accreditation and transfer of higher education self-study exam credits, MOE will support the colleges and universities hosting the exams in the attempt to transfer self-study credits into corresponding full-time education course credits, and promote the system in more colleges and universities. It also encouraged incorporating full-time higher education courses set up by colleges and universities hosting the exams into the course system of the self-study exam. The self-study exam institutions should provide an evaluation service pilot program for the public class tests to promote the recognition of self-study test scores and their transfer into corresponding course credits.

Volunteer services and R&D entrepreneurship can be transferred into credits

The contradictions between entrepreneurship and study may be properly resolved in the future. The Opinions pointed out that for various types of college students and other learners, as long as their professional experience, vocational training, qualification certificates, online learning and internship practice, volunteer service, innovation & entrepreneurship, and scientific research could prove their capability, qualifications and other non-degree learning outcomes, their achievements could be transferred into the corresponding course credits after meeting certain standards and procedures.
  
According to MOE, universities should improve the student learning evaluation system, formulate implementation measures on the accreditation of non-degree learning outcomes, self-define the scope, quantity, standard, and procedures for the credit transfer of non-degree learning outcomes, and confirm the accreditation results. The universities should announce and update the accredited non-degree learning outcomes checklist, clarify the corresponding course and credits, gradually expand the transfer scope of non-degree learning outcomes, break the barrier between degree and non-degree education, and promote talent growth without restraints.

To this end, MOE will encourage the universities with good facilities to make use of the non-degree education credit accreditation and transfer mechanism to compare and certify non-degree learning outcomes which define a clear ability level, and then transfer them into corresponding course credits.

"Available for everyone to learn anywhere at any time"

In the future, in promoting the strategic pattern of the accreditation and transfer of higher education credits, the open universities will play an important role. For the development goal of open universities, MOE envisions them exercising a role in national lifelong learning to further improve the school quality and level, promoting the credits of open universities to be recognised by more universities, and creating opportunities for more learners to receive higher education. Open universities should focus on improving in the four following aspects:

Consolidate the informatisation-based school operating foundation. Build up the information technology platform. Realise the integration of teaching, management, and service. Provide one-stop online service for student registration, learning, and examination. Adjust the school-operating model. Improve the service function. Form a rational layout of the study centre network. Realise the goal that "everyone is able to learn anywhere at any time".

Build quality courses. Carry out various high-level online education cooperation. Share high-quality curriculum resources. Optimise the presentation of the curriculum contents. Offer convenience for students to conduct autonomous learning. Strengthen the selection, management, and supervision of curriculum resources to ensure that course contents are in line with the CPC and national path, guidance, policy, laws and regulations.

Learning model innovation. Improve the registration learning system and make it convenient for learners to be enrolled at any time. Accelerate reform of the credit system, improve the system of independent course selection, meet the demand of personalised learning. Improve the online autonomous learning rules to ensure that the students' online autonomous learning can be monitored and evaluated.

Strengthen quality assurance. Establish a school teaching quality evaluation system, strengthen the monitoring and evaluation of the whole process of teaching and learning. Improve the system of course examination to ensure the scientific and safe features of the exam. Make the standards and procedures rigid for the certificates of curriculum, educational background, and degree certification to ensure the authenticity of the certificate. Release an annual quality report and receive evaluation and supervision by the society.

By Beijing Examinations News