88 years old becomes oldest undergraduate in China

Updated: 2016-10-25 12:06


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88 years old becomes oldest undergraduate in China

Zhang Huanguo. [Photo from Sina Weibo account of Jiangsu Open University]

Zhang Huanguo, 88, became the oldest undergraduate in the country after receiving a bachelor's degree in management from a university in Nanjing city, East China's Jiangsu province, on Oct 21, 2016.

He said the degree is a recognition of his passion for study and his lifelong love of learning, although he admitted that he faced difficulties in pursuing the course at such an old age.

"I had no knowledge of computers when I enrolled for Fundamentals of Computer Application. To better understand the course, I had to repeatedly ask the teacher and the students for help. After overcoming the problem of poor memory caused by age and slow learning of computer operation, now I am used to online distance learning on computer," said Zhang.

Zhang also learned to study on smartphones by interacting with course tutors and classmates through instant messaging tools such as WeChat and QQ groups.

Now, he enjoys logging on to the online course platform to say hi to the teachers and classmates. Besides, Zhang also reads articles and watches videos online. "I enjoy online learning, since it makes me feel I'm keeping up with the times," said Zhang.

Some internet users expressed their support, with one saying: "The old man is an example that it's never too old to learn."

Zhang, along with 18 other senior undergraduates, received their diploma in cultural industry management at the first commencement ceremony of degree education for the elderly in Jiangsu Open University.

The university, founded in 2012, was reportedly the first to offer bachelor's degree in China to senior citizens under its continuing education program.

The teaching model adopted by the university is an O2O education model, which is characterized by offline education complementing the main online education.

It's said that 196 senior students have studied at the university since it began enrolling them in April 2014.