Shanghai Open University partnership

UIL / Shanghai Open University Cooperation Office

The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) has partnered with the Shanghai Open University (SOU, China) to promote research, build and disseminate resources, and strengthen institutional capacities in the field of lifelong learning worldwide.

At the core of the cooperation is the role of universities in implementing lifelong learning and capacity-building initiatives, and establishing an Online Resource Centre on lifelong learning. A UIL-SOU Project Cooperation Office has been established at SOU in Shanghai to support these activities.

Within the framework of this partnership, UIL and SOU draw on their respective areas of expertise and the outcomes of past cooperations to promote lifelong learning at the global level.

SOU provides open and distance education to adults, supported by information and communications technologies. 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. Shanghai officially joined the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) in July 2019.

UIL promotes and supports lifelong learning, with a particular focus on adult learning, continuing educationliteracy and non-formal basic education, through a holistic and integrated, intersectoral 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.