Yunnan Open University is a new provincial, higher education, public institution, which is open for everyone. The University is sponsored by the Provincial Government of Yunnan Province and the Yunnan Department of Education. Supported by the information technology, the University adheres to the educational ideas of open and lifelong learning. Furthermore, it focuses on both degree seeking and non-degree seeking students.
In July 2009, the Yunnan Radio and Television University and Yunnan Vocational & Technical College of National Defense Industry merged with the approval of the Provincial Government of Yunnan. In October 2010, Yunnan Open University was approved as the pilot University for "exploring an Open University construction model" by the State Council. Two years later, on December 26, 2012, the Ministry of Education approved Yunnan Radio and Television University to be renamed as Yunnan Open University. Then on December 28, 2012, Yunnan Open University was founded, which is one of six national open universities under the constructional pilot program with approval of China’s State Council. It is the only Open University in the Central and Western provinces.
At present, the school headquarters cover an area of 750 square meters. The construction area is 300,000 square meters, with 540,000 books in its library and electronic books 30.5 Terrabites. Total cost of the fixed assets reaches 900 million RMB, doubling the assets of 2009. Currently we have 98 experimental labs, nearly 100 million RMB in teaching instruments and equipment.
There are 21 undergraduate majors and 43 professional specialties for open education of National Open University, 4 undergraduate majors and 24 professional specialties for Yunnan Open University and 34 specialties for secondary vocational education. There are over 100,000 students enrolled as on campus and distance education students. There are 220,000 non-degree seeking students enrolled.
There are 711 staff members in the university, among them 534 are full-time teachers, and 216 have positions which include associate professors, and 383 possess a Master Degree or higher. In addition, a group of experts and scholars from domestic and abroad universities have been invited to guide and promote the construction of professional disciplines and courses. The total staff is over 4000 teachers working full-time and part-time.
Meanwhile we have set up the Yunnan Open University Advisory Committee, led by senior expert, He Keming, represented by domestic well-known experts in the field of distance education as the main focus, offering decision-making consultation on school reform and development of major technology issues.
Developing the Open University is an important measure for the Party Central Committee and the State Council to a "perfect lifelong education system, developing a learning society," an innovative task for education reform and development in the mid-term and long run both in the country and in Yunnan Province. Since the pilot construction, Yunnan Open University echoes the era’s need – citizen’s responsibility to learn, adheres to reform and innovation, strategic transformation, educational quality upgrades, and actively exploring three major systems: easy enrollment together with strict graduation; bank credits; lifelong learning. What’s more, it actively promotes open education for every citizen, new education ideas, education resources, the process of higher education as well as the innovative expert training. Thus, a "hybrid" or blended teaching/learning mode, which offers students all-round service supported by information technology, has initially formed.
With regards to the overall structure “University+ Platform +System,” a strategy covering urban and rural educational systems has been preliminarily built for all members of society offering public education service and information learning platform. With the approval of the Provincial Education Department, we have set up 25 secondary schools. At present the university has founded 20 secondary schools, 4 county (district) learning centers, 125 teaching points.
The pilot construction program received high praise from Liu Yandong, Vice Premier of the State Council, and other leaders from the Provincial Government, which greatly inspired the school leadership and the morale is on the rise. Also the atmosphere of the whole campus is warm and harmonious.
The continuing development of Yunnan Open University will adhere to achieving the initiative, striving to become a pioneer of the integrated reform of education in Yunnan, a promoter of the construction of modern vocational education system and fair education opportunities, leading the construction of the lifelong educational system. The University devotes itself to the realization that a good vision towards learning is available for everyone at anytime and anywhere. Great efforts have been put to develop the University as an advanced school nationwide, a model University in southwest China, while also being influential in Southeast Asia and South Asia.