By Xiaogang Tian
Training Workshop for Policy-Makers in Distance Education and Open Learning
3 Nov, 2003, Shanghai, China,
Ms. Sheldon Shaeffer, Director, UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education,
Esteemed guests from the Shanghai Municipal Government,
Ms. President of Shanghai TV University,
Distinguished participants and friends,
On the occasion of the opening ceremony of Shanghai Training Workshop for Policy-Makers in Distance Education and Open Learning, on behave of Chinese National Commission for UNESCO, I would like to extend my warm welcome to all the participants here, to express my sincere thanks to the host of training workshop— the Education Committee of Shanghai Municipal Government and Shanghai TV University in particular, and to extend our deep appreciation to the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, the initiator of the conference. Here I shall extend my particular thanks to Mr. Wang Yibing, advisor for the Secretariat of Chinese Natcom for UNESCO and SDEG, without whose efforts, we cannot gather here now.
Although I am not a member of the policy-makers in distance education and open learning, I am deeply aware of the critical importance and the increasing popularity of distance education and open learning in modern society. Take my acquaintances as an example, I know many of them are beneficiaries of the distance education and open learning, and some of them even turn a new leaf after receiving the education. ;
Chinese Government pays high heed on developing modern distance and open education system. At the end of last century, The Program for Invigorating Chinese Education Oriented toward 21st Century was proposed. In this program, developing modern system of open and distance education is listed as one of the key tasks with a view to accelerating the process of informatization and the formation of a considerably large-scared open education system and finally the modernization of Chinese education. At present, in addition to the education service provided by TV universities, about 70% of the colleges and universities in China have already established campus networks and 67 universities are ready to provide open and distance education and the number of their enrollment is expected to reach up to 1.5 million. Chinese government also lays emphasis on the education and informatization in the West China and rural area which is comparatively backward. We plan to spend 10 years to make at least 90% primary and secondary schools all over the China enjoy ICT education.
The development of China’s open and distance education cannot be alienated from international exchanges and cooperation. We sincerely hope that through bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation, a modern system of open and distance education with Chinese characteristics will be established, national education system will be perfected, and experience will be gained to build a learning society with an atmosphere of nation-wide life-long learning.earning.
Finally, may the training workshop a complete success! May all the guests here a joyful stay in this charming, beautiful, fashionable and vigorous city—Shanghai!