Guangzhou, China

  • City population: 
  • GDP – city: 
    Between USD 15,000 and USD 25,000
  • Average number of years of schooling: 

A thriving cultural scene

For two consecutive years, Forbes has rated Guangzhou as China’s second most changed city. It hosts the China Import and Export Commodities Fair and is home to over 8,700 national high-tech enterprises. With a history stretching back more than 2,000 years, Guangzhou also boasts a thriving cultural scene, which is characterized by Cantonese cuisine, music and language.  

Vision and Strategy

Lifelong learning will help us to construct a learning city that is resilient and sustainable. Engaging with UNESCO GNLC and learning from other cities will allow us to achieve this. Our medium-term strategy centres on establishing a new system of education in that is fair, dynamic, innovative and inclusive. Our long-term strategy is based on building a participatory international city that will serve a hub for international educational exchange. Our priority areas are vocational and family education.  

Policies, Plan and Implementation

Sustainability and health

  • The city’s waste separation initiative carries out online and offline publicity and educational campaigns focusing on ways to reduce domestic waste. Guangzhou is also seeking to improve residents’ health literacy and integrate prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and health promotion into its health service system.

Equity and inclusion

  • Public welfare programmes such as the Guangzhou Lifelong Education Lecture Hall and Guangzhou’s University Hall of the Third Age provide targeted assistance to women, older people and the homeless. Coordinated action between the education sector, the women’s federation, labour unions and other departments ensures that learning opportunities are accessible to all.  

Decent work and entrepreneurship

  • Employment and entrepreneurship are promoted through coordinated action between vocational, academic, non-academic and post-vocational education stakeholders. Work initiatives include the Guangdong Skilled Workers programme, which has subsidized vocational skills training for 400,000 people to date. The Cantonese Cuisine Masterclass has provided training for 31,000 people, while the Southern Guangdong Home Economics programme has trained 176,000 participants.  

Good practices

Study and Dream Project

  • This project trains new industrial workers in line with economic and social development goals and lifelong learning targets. By July 2021, 160,000 industrial workers had benefited from the project, of whom more than 80,000 obtained higher education certificates, and around 30 per cent were promoted to professional positions. 

Yangcheng Village Officials Going to University

  • The project started in 2012, with around 10,000 rural grassroots cadres enrolled and more than 7,000 students obtaining higher education certificates. Students’ overall skills were improved, which provided new talent to the agriculture sector and contributed to the revitalization of rural areas.

Expanding education provision for older people to improve livelihoods

  • This initiative seeks to address the needs of Guangzhou’s ageing population. Guangzhou’ Open University of the Third Age was established in 2018; since then, 4 million people have participated in its education programmes. To ensure that its outreach extends to rural adults, the university has 800 village teaching sites.  

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