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China Sets Up National University for Aged to 'Build Lifelong Learning Society'

The national education resource for older adults features curriculum ranging from foreign languages, computer skills, music and dance to photography, painting, sports, cooking and other crafts and skills.

China's Ministry of Education released a notice that the government has set up a national university for the aged. According to the notice, the plaque of the National University for the Aged will be unveiled and merged with the Open University of China (OUC) – “the university for older adults.”

The OUC is a new-style higher education university directly under the administration of the Ministry of Education of China (MOE). It is both an educational entity and an educational system covering all urban and rural areas in China. It consists of one headquarters, 45 provincial branches, and 3,735 study centers. It has founded 14 industry and corporate colleges in cooperation with relevant ministries and commissions and industries.

Based on a mission of promoting lifelong learning for all, it is committed to offering open education to the entire nation. It is supported by modern information technology and characterized by “Internet Plus.” Under the leadership of the MOE, the OUC coordinates the overall construction of the national open education system, gives professional guidance and support to the operation of open education in China, and focuses on the construction of a public service platform for lifelong learning. It offers lifelong education and services for all people and promotes the goal of “anyone can learn anytime and anywhere.”

In February, China's State Council has released a plan for the development of the country's elderly care services system during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025), in its latest step to implement a national strategy to address population aging. The plan specifies major goals and tasks for the five-year period, including expanding the supply of elderly care services, improving the health support mechanism for the elderly, and advancing the innovative and integrated development of service models.

It lists nine major indicators, such as the number of elderly care beds and the ratio of nursing care beds in elderly care institutions, to mobilize society as a whole to actively respond to population aging. Detailed tasks include strengthening the safety net for elderly services, expanding inclusive services coverage, developing the silver economy, and safeguarding the legitimate interests of the aging population.

Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics show that the population aged 60 or older amounted to 267 million in 2021, accounting for 18.9 percent of China's total population. According to the national planning for the development of the aging cause and nursing home service system released by the State Council, China's cabinet, every county (city, district or banner) has to have at least one university for the elderly by 2025.


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