On Oct 19, the State Council General Office issued a notice on the development plan for elderly education (2016-2020).
The notice put forward five major tasks, concerning education resources, methods and content, support services, mechanism innovation and sustainable development, to promote elderly education in China.
The document called for expanding resources for elderly education. Development in cities and counties should have priority, while services for the elderly living alone or scattered in rural areas should be strengthened. Developed areas are encouraged to give support to remote or rural areas.
Various schools at every level should promote elderly education. Resources such as libraries and facilities should be opened to local elderly people. Those who want to study can also enroll, said the document.
Efforts should also be made to enrich education patterns and content, and explore new study modes at elderly-care centers and nursing homes.
Support services such as information technology should be enhanced. Resources in culture, sports and technologies should be integrated for elderly education, according to the notice.
Meanwhile, the development mechanism for elderly education should be innovated. Market vitality should be fully stimulated, and private capital is encouraged to participate in elderly education.
A sustainable development of elderly education should also be promoted, the document said. Talent cultivation is needed, research on theories and policies should be enhanced, and global communication and cooperation should be strengthened.
According to the plan’s target, senior citizens who participate in education activities in various forms should account for over 20 percent of the whole aging population by 2020. By that time, every city above county level should have at least one university for the elderly; 50 percent of towns and villages should have schools for the elderly; 30 percent of administrative villages and neighborhood committees should have learning centers for the elderly.
By 2020, resource platforms supporting the development of elderly education should be established in every province, region and city; distance education should be available in over 50 percent of China’s counties, cities and districts; one to two elderly volunteer teams should be established in every elderly university and volunteer service organizations can be found in schools for the elderly.
Currently, China faces an aging society - the population of over 60 years old reached 222 million by the end of 2015, accounting for 16.1 percent of the whole population. It is estimated that the elderly population will reach 243 million by 2020.