Jiangsu marks new pattern of life-long education
Senior graduates from Jiangsu Open University are awarded academic certificates on Nov 2. [Photo/jsou.cn]
Zhang Huanguo, an 89-year-old senior citizen who lives in East China’s Jiangsu province, never imagined getting a bachelor’s degree at such an advanced age.
But on Nov 2, his dream came true.
After being admitted as one of the first group of senior students at Jiangsu Open University in 2014, Zhang majored in management with a focus on the culture industry, finished his thesis defense on the appreciation of classical poetry, and graduated this month.
He became the eldest ever graduate to complete the school’s “twilight education” course. Among his 16 elderly classmates, 15 graduated with a bachelor’s degree and 2 with junior college education certificates.
Sun Haili, Zhang’s classmate, introduced his academic focus on photography over the past two and a half years.
“Basically relying on independent study, online education and face-to-face instruction, I have completed specialized courses on Outline of Art, Photo Exposure Control, Cultural Industry Development, and the Art of Film Photography,” Sun said.
By now, along with Zhang and Sun, the total number of students pursuing their life-long education at Jiangsu Open University has reached 403.
The school has definitely carved out a leading trend in old-aged education, upgrading Jiangsu’s education for senior citizens from simply helping them develop interests to offering in-depth education and academic degrees.
The school’s ever-increasing popularity among the elderly has also triggered it to open up a bachelor’s degree in Chinese calligraphy and painting this April.
Lan Yaming, vice president of Jiangsu Open University, placed high hopes on the school’s development.
“Since our school initiated programs targeting senior citizens in April 2014, we have adjusted to the characteristics of these students, adhered to a development pattern of advancing progressively, and have always pursued a scientific and systematic education,” Lan said.
The first group of senior graduates from Jiangsu Open University poses for a group photo at their graduation ceremony on Nov 2. [Photo/jsou.cn]