Shanghai serves as model for 'learning' cities
The elderly and young people enjoy a handwork lesson provided by Shanghai Open University. [Photo from WeChat account SHMEC-xwb]
Shanghai's experiences in building an exemplary "learning" city were a highlight of the 4th International Conference on Learning Cities held in Medellin, Colombia, from Oct 3 to 10.
Ni Minjing, vice director of the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission, delivered a speech on Shanghai's efforts to provide lifelong learning opportunities to its citizens.
Shanghai is the first city in China to propose the idea of building learning cities. The Shanghai Municipal Government first began implementing policies to achieve the goal in 1999 and has made remarkable progress since then.
Ni introduced the city's strategy, measures, and achievements in developing a complete education network across multiple communities by cooperating with various departments and encouraging public participation.
There are currently 81 district-level community colleges, more than 5,800 village learning sites, and 130 experience centers in the city.
Shanghai also has an open university, 61 universities with schools for continuing education, and 19 universities with a self-study system.
The Shanghai Municipal Education Commission said that studying online is a good way for Shanghai citizens to continue pursuing education throughout their lives. Nearly 4.43 million online users have registered on the Shanghai Learning Website, which offers more than 30,000 online courses.
The elderly, teenagers, white collar workers, and the disabled will be able to more easily pursue education for either personal or professional reasons by using the variety of options provided by the city.
The International Conference on Learning Cities, organized by UNESCO, passed a Medellin Announcement drafted by six representatives, including Ni as the only Asian representative, declaring that members of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities will work to develop an inclusive and sustainable mentality.
Shanghai plans to continue holding international conferences to provide an exchange platform for learning cities at all stages of development, according to the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission.
The Shanghai Learning Website features various online courses. [Photo/shlll.net]