V. Cultural Education for the Aged
The promotion of cultural education for elderly people is a requirement for enhancing the level of their spiritual and cultural life. China pays much attention to the development of cultural education for the aged in order to enrich their cultural life and satisfy their needs in this regard.
The Chinese government has set up comprehensive activity centers with adequate multi-functional facilities for seniors in large- and medium-sized cities; cultural activity centers for seniors in counties (cities, districts and banners); activity stations (sites) for seniors in townships, towns and communities; and activity rooms for seniors in grassroots villages and neighborhoods.
By the end of 2005, there were over 670,000 amenities for seniors' recreational activities in Chinese urban and rural areas. Governments at all levels have designated special activity venues for seniors in both old and new public-welfare cultural establishments, and cultural activity venues under the administration of government institutions have also been opened to the elderly. Public cultural service establishments such as libraries, cultural centers, art galleries, museums, and science and technology centers supported by state funds, as well as public recreation places, including parks, gardens and tourist sites, are open to seniors free or at a discount. As a result, the social and cultural life of the elderly is continuously improving.
The state has made positive efforts to provide spiritual and cultural products suitable for senior citizens. Central and provincial radio and TV stations broadcast programs and special features for elderly people. By the end of 2005, China had published 24 newspapers for seniors, with a total circulation of 2.8 million copies, and 23 magazines and periodicals, selling some 3.058 million copies.
Large quantities of literary and artistic works popular among elderly people have been created in literary, movie and television, theatrical and publication circles. Cultural departments and institutions at various levels organize art troupes to create and give performances warmly welcomed by elderly people at grassroots units.
The Chinese government positively promotes and supports all kinds of cultural and recreational activities beneficial to the mental and physical health of seniors, and allocates special funds every year for such large-scale activities as national performances by elderly people and the Chinese Elderly People's Chorus Festival, and for international cultural and artistic exchanges for the elderly. Diversified and healthy cultural activities for the elderly are frequently organized in communities throughout the country.
Public cultural institutions such as art centers, cultural centers and cultural stations make it a point to give guidance to elderly people's cultural activities, and meanwhile, have cultivated a contingent of amateur art and literary activists among seniors, who play an important role in enlivening and enriching the spiritual and cultural life of the elderly. Mass recreational organizations of elderly people in both urban and rural areas are growing rapidly, forming the backbone of elderly people's cultural activities.
The state attaches importance to protecting elderly people's right to education, and has increased financial support for such endeavors. Governments of different levels, departments concerned, enterprises and public institutions have established model institutions of higher learning for the elderly.
On the basis of existing provincial, municipal and county-level mass cultural facilities, education for seniors has been developing through different channels and at various levels, aiming to achieve the goal of making higher education available for elderly people in every county, and extending to townships and communities.
In some places, modern means of telecommunications have been fully utilized to open TV and online schools for the elderly to expand coverage of education for the aged. Today, an educational system for elderly people that is multi-level, multi-form and multi-disciplinary with different lengths of schooling has taken initial shape. Studying in elderly people's schools helps seniors to broaden their knowledge, enrich their lives, refine their sentiment, improve their health and serve society. By the end of 2005, there were over 26,000 such schools in China, with a total enrollment of 2.3 million elderly students.