General
04 Dec 2013

Open University strengthens ties with OU Network in China during ministerial visit

The UK’s Open University has strengthened its ties with the OU Network in China at a special ceremony in Beijing, attended by Universities Minister, David Willetts.

The Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, Martin Bean, joined the President of the OU in China, Dr Yang Zhijian, to sign a new agreement which will see closer working between the two institutions, benefiting students in both countries and beyond.

Currently around 200,000 Chinese students are studying for local qualifications using resources developed at the UK’s Open University.

Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, Martin Bean, said:

“For more than four decades we have been combining world-leading expertise in both teaching and technology to offer students from across the globe access to higher education. Our collaboration with China stretches right back to our earliest days, and this relationship continues to flourish. It’s great to be back in Beijing to reaffirm our commitment to our Chinese colleagues and I look forward to many more years of working together.”

The Open University is also preparing to sign two further agreements with Chinese institutions in the coming days:

• Chongqing Radio and Television University, to be signed in Chengdu
• Peking University School of Telemedical Education

The new agreements will develop existing relationships and define areas for future collaboration. The Open University already benefits from close links with Chinese institutions, including:

• Working with the national and provincial Open Universities to help enhance the provision of open and distance education in China
• Research and staff exchanges, enabling colleagues in both countries to develop improved understanding of distance education in different cultural contexts
• The OU hosts an OUC scholar for three months each year
• A member of the OU’s Institute of Educational Technology travelled to China earlier this year to work with them on updating modules and staff development
• Helping partners to fill gaps in their curriculum through the use and adaptation of UK Open University content


Martin Bean has joined David Willetts and other senior members of the Cabinet – including Prime Minister, David Cameron – on a four-day visit to China. The trip is designed to strengthen links between the new countries, with The Open University showcasing the value of collaboration between universities in the UK and China.

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