A $4 million, 300-seat lecture theatre has opened at the Open Learning Institute (OLI) campus with audio and visual equipment to serve conferences, forums, seminars and lectures. One of the first users of the Bank of China Lecture Theatre will be an international conference on the development of distance learning education in November. The theatre was built under OLI's 'Partners in Learning' campaign which elicits community support for the self-financing institute's development. Since the establishment of OLI, about $400 million has been received. Associate Director of OLI Andrew Wong Lap-sang said OLI would continue to seek private funding for development. He also revealed plans for more contacts with China. These will include more language training in both Putonghua and English and China-related subjects. He emphasised that the independent studies offered by OLI were designed to suit the varying demands of society. 'The academic degrees being offered are recognised by the Government and overseas schools,' he said. More than 20,000 students have enrolled for the OLI's 48 degree and sub-degree programmes.