At the 30th anniversary of the establishment of China’s Working Committee of Caring for the Next Generation (WCCFNG) and the National Commendation Conference of Caring for the Next Generation (CFNG), the Tongji University WCCFNG won the honor of National Advanced Collective of Caring for the Next Generation. Tongji was the only award-winning university in Shanghai.
“In the 28 years since the establishment of the Tongji WCCFNG, under the strong leadership of the Tongji Party Committee, the retired elderly teachers of the university have stayed true to the original aspiration and been concerned about the growth of young people,” the person responsible for the Tongji WCCFNG said.
Tongji WCCFNG starts with the original aspiration and succeeds in sticking to it. Over the past 28 years, it has led the retired elderly teachers to give full play to their enthusiasm and make concerted efforts to contribute to Tongji’s young students’ growth and success and to cultivate a new generation to shoulder the mission of achieving national rejuvenation.
A growing number of retired teachers dedicated to caring for the next generation
Tongji WCCFNG was established in 1992. Over the years, under the guidance of WCCFNG of the Ministry of Education (MOE ) and of the Shanghai Education authorities, and with strong support from the Tongji Party Committee, Tongji WCCFNG has achieved encouraging results through cooperation with the relevant administrative departments of the University and social organizations. In the past five years, Tongji WCCFNG won a number of awards including six Advanced Collective at or above the Shanghai Municipality level, one MOE WCCFNG Advanced Individual, and one nomination for National WCCFNG Advanced Individual. Additionally, eight papers on CFNG won the excellent paper awards of the MOE and Shanghai Municipality.
Behind the achievements were decades of commitment by the elderly teachers who have been practicing the mission of CFNG and staying true to the original aspiration. “The elderly teachers have explored and formed ‘Three Goods’ in their long-term practice, which are good teams, good systems, and good ideas,” summed up JIN Zhengji, Executive Deputy Director of the Tongji WCCFNG and former Tongji University’s Vice President.
Tongji WCCFNG members at a regular meeting
Ideological construction is of the first importance in strengthening the leadership of an organization. The elderly teachers of the Tongji WCCFNG are fully aware that they must take learning new things as their primary task while strengthen their ideological and political awareness and enhancing their capability of working with young people. In recent years, Tongji WCCFNG has played an active role in organizing the study and implementation of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the guiding principles of the 19th CPC National Congress held in 2017. They made arrangements for retired teachers to study “Four Histories” (histories of the Communist Party of China, New China, the reform and opening-up, and the development of socialism), took study tours, conducted subject matter research, job training and seminars in an attempt to build Tongji WCCFNG into a learning-oriented one.
System construction is essential to the sustainable and scientific development of work. Tongji WCCFNG has explored and formed a complete set of systems, including the meeting system, work system, and information exchange system. Take the communication system as an example, newsletters regarding the meetings held by the Tongji WCCFNG were issued soon after the meetings to update retired teachers of latest development CFNG, which has formed a standardized and orderly working system, resulting in 144 issues of Tongji WCCFNG newsletters.
In the long-term work practice, Tongji WCCFNG has developed and practiced the following ideas:
focusing on the central work of the University，
cooperating with and supplementing each other，
taking into account of local conditions,
doing things within its reach, and
Drawing on the grass-roots expertise.
The idea of “drawing on the grass-roots expertise” has enabled the elderly teachers to focus on their work and find their source of vitality. In recent years, Tongji WCCFNG has given full play to the WCCFNG Branches of the schools and colleges of the university by weaving a reliable organizational network, and forming a strong synergy with the Tongji for cultivation of young students.
CFNG brand building through innovating ideological and political work
Over the years, Tongji WCCFNG has made efforts in CFNG brand building. They managed to promote their work in a numeric way such as One Key at hand (pressing a key on the mobile phone), Two-face Communication (face-to-face communication), Three-Community Integration (three communities of university community, primary and middle school community and neighborhood community), Four Corner Publicity (publicity of CFNG work everywhere), and Five Color Campuses (campus life made colorful). They have also established such platforms as Tongji WCCFNG’s website, communication between teachers and students, three-communities integration, the Promotion Group platform, and campus culture communication, to help promote the University’s implementation of Three-comprehensiveness Education initiated by Ministry of Education and disseminate socialist core values. What they are committed to doing have been widely recognized both inside and outside Tongji University.
Tongji WCCFNG’s website has won one of the MOE Top Ten Excellent Brand Cases and the first prize of the MOE Excellent Website Selection of the Grass-roots Education WCCFNG, which has received wide recognition. These honors cannot be achieved without the long-term dedication of the elderly teachers and their spirit of keeping pace with the times. According to statistics, over the past ten years, more than 10,000 articles have been echoed on the website, and more than 20 million people have read them. Tongji WCCFNG has organized “My Favorite Essays” campaign for tenth years in a row, receiving a total of 4,835 essays, with 134 winning essays. Tongji WCCFNG’s website has been revised a number of times to adapt to the new situation and requirements, with 16 sections and 46 columns. The person in charge of the website has also set up a WeChat group for elderly teachers and a WeChat group named “Friends of Youth” to understand the audience needs and facilitate communication.
Face-to-face communication is tailored-made for students’ ideological and political education. Tongji WCCFNG has set up a variety of face-to-face communication platforms for teachers and students at both university and school/college levels. At the university level, talks related to hot topics and student concerns are held for undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree students, many of whom are student Party members and Party applicants. At the school/college level, the “Talk House” and “Psychological Counseling Room” are set for elderly teachers to communicate with students on a particular issue usually by appointment. It is estimated that nearly 200 elderly teachers and more than 1,500 students have participated in the talks. The face-to-face communication platform has been awarded the Model Featured Project of Shanghai Education System.
“Storytelling by Learned Scholars” educational activities for newcomers conducted by the elderly teachers
The Three-community Integration platform is the youth education model explored and formed by the Tongji WCCFNG. The Three Communities of the university, primary and secondary schools and neighborhood are integrated to educate people in concert. College students, as the main force, serve as volunteers, science and technology instructors and out-of-school tutors in the communities, organize popular science activities, subject matter lectures, summer camps, legal counseling services regularly, while elderly teachers play the role of the counselling, supervision and administration. So far, 13 schools and colleges have been involved in the community construction. Tongji WCCFNG’s practice of the innovative Three-community Integration platform was awarded as a brand featured project by the Shanghai WCCFNG.
Tongji WCCFNG’s Promotion Group established 16 years ago is mainly composed of a group of elderly teachers with high theoretical accomplishments and professional advantages. They focus on the education of ideals and beliefs through meetings and Party lectures. In 2019, Tongji WCCFNG organized 36 promotion meetings with more than 5,400 audience. Some elderly teachers were also invited to give lectures in neighborhoods, primary and secondary schools, and institutional offices, which won wide appraisal.
Tongji WCCFNG has made great efforts to build a campus culture communication platform to tell the story of Tongji’s history and inheritance. In 2014, Tongji WCCFNG encouraged a wide range of elderly teachers to compile a book of Stories of Tongji, which was officially published in 2015 with the support of many parties of Tongji University. The book records more than 100 people and events in Tongji’s history, igniting the positive energy of contemporary Tongji people who love the University and love their country. In 2018, Tongji WCCFNG compiled and published the book of Stories of Tongji Teachers by their Students and held a book donation ceremony on the Teachers’ Day of that year. Besides, Tongji WCCFNG has cooperated with the Department of Student Affairs to organize educational activities with the theme of Gratitude for nine consecutive years. The participants have expanded from undergraduates to master’s and doctoral degree students, and the contents have ranged from being grateful to teachers, parents and the elderly to the Party and our country. The project was also awarded as a model featured project by Shanghai WCCFNG.
Effective promote of accumulation and inheritance of the University’s Party building experience
On the occasion of the second anniversary of Tongji University being selected as one of the first batch of national Model Universities of Party Building Work, the Organization Department of Tongji University Party Committee summed up the experience of the Party building work in this way：
“A long-term working mechanism is established to invite retired elderly teachers as special (part-time) Party building organizers so that elderly former leaders and Party members can play their roles of Passing, Helping and Showcasing in the cultivation of Party applicants, the education of student Party members, the construction of student Party School and student tutor capacity building, promoting the accumulation and inheritance of Party building work experience effectively”.
The Party Building Committee (PBC) of the Tongji WCCFNG was established in 2012. At present, there are mainly six elderly teachers responsible for the work related to Party Building. Over the past eight years, the PBC has cooperated with the Organization Department of Tongji University’s Party Committee and the School and College Party Committees by playing their roles of Passing, Helping and Showcasing. They practiced what they said and played an essential role in the University Party building work. The PBC members preview the Party application materials from schools /colleges and other units every year and are check thousands of applications carefully to ensure the quality of applications.
The PBC of the Tongji WCCFNG provides guidance to the school/college in its Party building work. If problems are identified during their reviews, they will contact the school/college to find out the causes and develop rectification methods. Additionally, the PBC also helped the school college formulating rules and regulations to standardize various materials’ management.
The elderly PBC teachers of the Tongji WCCFNG are bosom friends of Party branch secretaries at the grass-roots level, liaison officers, student Party members, and Party applicants. The elderly teachers shared their experience in Party building with Party branch secretaries at the grass-roots level, especially the “double leaders” of advantageous disciplines. They also went to the school/college, got to know people there, helped them with their party building work, and encouraged students to join the Party.
Given the current situation that students are in the same class but do not take the same course, and in response to the new requirements of Party member development, the PBC of the Tongji WCCFNG, in cooperation with the Organization Department of the Tongji University Party Committee, the Department of Research and Work, and the Logistics Group, conducted field research and wrote the paper Practice and Research on the Participation of Tongji WCCFNG Elderly Teachers in the Party Building Work of Student Communities, which won a first prize of the WCCFNG Education Topics organized by Shanghai Education System in 2018. For its long working practice, the PBC was awarded as an Advanced Team of the Party Building Work of WCCFNG of Shanghai Education System, and each member of the Committee awarded as an Advanced Individual of the Party Building Work of WCCFNG of Shanghai Education System.
Donation ceremony of Tongji WCCFNG-Zima Middle School Scholarship
As a Chinese line goes, fallen rose pedals are not useless without mercy, ; they become spring mud to protect flowers. During the interviews, the deeds of the elderly teachers of the Tongji WCCFNG touched the heart of the reporters. Although JIN Zhengji, Executive Deputy Director of the Tongji WCCFNG, and CHEN Lifeng, Deputy Director of the Tongji WCCFNG, are plagued by diseases, their smile and laugh showed their optimistic attitude and open-mindedness towards life. Their way of life embodies the responsibility and commitment of Tongji elderly generation to “remain true to the original aspiration, undertake their mission, and cultivate the new generation”. An elderly professor of the Tongji WCCFNG spent five years continuously tracking eight students and offering guidance through e-mail, WeChat and interviews. The elderly teachers offered their sincerity for friendship and warmed the student hearts with love, which helped the latter with their growth. Over the past five years, elderly teachers such as JIN Zhengji, GAO Tingyao, ZHOU Zengyan, and MA Luming have extended their helping hands to needy students in Zima Middle School of Guizhou Province by providing paired support financially. The subsidized students who have kept in their mind the help given by the elderly teachers of Tongji WCCFNG can tell you endless touching stories of the elderly teachers of the Tongji WCCFNG. The belief of “fostering virtue through education” shines brightly in each of the aging teachers.
The original aspiration kindles the setting sun which in turn enlightens the coming spring. The story of Tongji WCCFNG will continue for years to come at Tongji University.
Written by YU Juan