College established to boost community schools

It aims to serve all age groups as well as foreigners.
Ti Gong

Ni Minjing (left), deputy director of Shanghai Education Commission, and Yuan Wen, president of Shanghai Open University, unveil a plate celebrating Shanghai Community College.

Courses on Chinese culture and philosophy for foreigners, training for volunteers, and programs for elders and children, will be developed by a special college established at Shanghai Open University on Tuesday.

Shanghai Community College aims to enhance non-diploma education in local communities by providing courses to community schools and training their teachers based on the diversified demands of people of all ages in local communities, said Yuan Wen, president of Shanghai Open University.

The college will cooperate with all kinds of educational units, including universities and training organizations, to integrate resources and distribute them to 212 community schools, with more than 5,000 teaching places, she added.

Wang Bojun, vice president of the university, said the community schools in Shanghai currently mainly served older people who had retired from their jobs and looked for community activities to enrich their lives. 

Courses at community schools sponsored by the government are popular as they are convenient and cheap. Take piano lessons for example, a 16-lesson course only charges 300 to 500 yuan (US$46 to US$77), which is almost the price of a single lesson in commercial training organizations.

"With the newly established college, they wish to expand our service to more people with diversified contents, such as out-of-school education for young children, latest agricultural knowledge teaching for new professional farmers, training for volunteers and activities to help new-comers settle down in Shanghai," Wang said.

Newly retired people now tend to be better educated, so previous courses, "such as singing and dancing, are no longer enough to satisfy their needs," he added.

Bi Hu, president of the community college in the Pudong New Area, welcomes the new college. "We need to improve our courses with development of Pudong," he said.

"For example, we now have many foreign experts working and living in the free trade zone. How can we serve their needs in integrating into the local society and improving life quality? We hope the new college will develop more courses suitable for them."


Yang Meiping / SHINE

The books on parenting released today will be distributed to local community schools.

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