UIL and Shanghai Open University sign a three-year agreement
Today, David Atchoarena, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), and Wen Yuan, President of Shanghai Open University (SOU, China), signed a three-year cooperation agreement to promote research, build and disseminate resources and strengthen institutional capacities in the field of lifelong learning worldwide.
The role of universities in implementing lifelong learning, capacity-building initiatives and the establishment of an Online Resource Centre on lifelong learning will be at the core of the cooperation. A UIL-SOU Project Cooperation Office will be established at SOU to support the implementation of these activities. The cooperation agreement was signed following the opening ceremony of the second UIL-SOU capacity-building workshop on ‘developing education systems from a lifelong learning perspective’.
Within the framework of this partnership, UIL and SOU will draw on their respective areas of expertise and the results of past cooperation to promote lifelong learning at global level.
SOU provides open and distance education to adults supported by information and communications technology. In addition to its main campus, SOU has more than 44 branch campuses serving specific local communities throughout Shanghai. By harnessing new technologies, the university improves and widens access to learning, demonstrating its strong commitment to providing all members of society with more flexible, convenient, fair and open ways of learning. Its commitment to creating a socially just learning society is evident also in its support for multi-level, diversified education services in Shanghai, and its contribution to turning Shanghai into a learning city. In July this year, Shanghai officially joined the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities.
UIL promotes and supports lifelong learning with a focus on adult learning, continuing education, literacy and non-formal basic education, through a holistic and integrated, inter-sectoral and cross-sectoral approach. Higher education, the institute believes, plays a vital role in extending lifelong learning opportunities to wider target groups, including older people, distance learners, migrants, the digitally excluded, people living in rural communities and people with disabilities. The ‘open university’ is regarded by UIL as a model for transforming traditional higher education institutions into lifelong learning institutions.