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Yidan Prize – History, Significance, Winners

Last Updated : 22 Sep, 2023
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Yidan Prize is an award that is given to individuals or over three-member teams for their significant contribution towards education research and development. The Yidan Prize was established in the year 2016 with an ambition to enhance learning through a global community that is committed to the advancements of ideas in education. The awards were given by the Yidan Prize Foundation.

History of the Yidan Prize

Chinses Philanthropist and entrepreneur Dr. Charles Chen Yidan founded the award in 2016 and established Yidan Prize Foundation. Interestingly, Chen is the Co-Founder of Tencent in 1998 which is a multinational technology and entertainment company where he held the position of Chief Administration Officer till 2013. After stepping down from the position Chen set up Chen Yidan Charity Foundation. Later on, he went on to establish the prize foundation. 

The Yidan Prize is annually awarded since the year 2017 in two categories, ‘Yidan Prize for Education Research‘ which is for the individual or the team’s (maximum 3 members) significant contribution towards a science of education, and the ‘Yidan Prize for Education Development‘ which is awarded for work towards positive change in education and learning.


For Yidan Prize, the winners get a gold medal and a prize of HK$30 million which sits around $3.9 million in US dollars. HK$15 million is awarded as a cash prize and the other half of HK$15 million is a project fund that is given to support the winners in order to help them – so that, they expand the initiatives, they are working on.

Nomination of a Candidate for the Yidan Prize and Judgement Criteria

The nominators who want to nominate individual candidates or three-member teams could be members of government bodies, non-governmental organizations, professional associations, and individual thought leaders and they are required to be the credible witness of the work of the nominee. 

The nominees can be individuals or teams of up to three members. They can be teachers, researchers, academics, policymakers, and education advocates. Also, there is a scope of self-nominations for the Yidan Prize.

The nominations are judged by the Judging Committee of the Yidan Prize Foundation which includes two panels. Here, one panel is mandated to focus on educational research, and another one is meant to assess the nominations for education development. The judging committee is appointed via an invitation from the foundation’s boards of directors.

Laureates of Yidan Prize

Carol S. Dweck and Vicky Colbert in 2017 :

Carol S. Dweck and her team include (Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology and Lewis at Stanford University). Her landmark research on the power of the ‘growth mindset,’ which is founded on the idea that intelligence is not fixed and can be developed over time, has become a popular educational concept.

Vicky Colbert Director and also the founder of Fundación Escuela Nueva in Colombia. Since the mid-1970s, his project, Escuela Nueva, has enhanced the quality of education in Colombia’s rural public schools. Over 5 million children have benefited from the educational concept, which has been implemented by 14 nations.

Larry Hedges and Anant Agarwal in 2018 :

Agarwal is the CEO of edX, a joint venture between MIT and Harvard University that launched in 2012. Since the company’s inception, Agarwal has been in charge of its quick expansion. More than 17 million people across the world have access to EdX’s over 2,000 online classes from the more than 130 premier institutions.

Larry Hedges’s expertise includes advanced training for researchers in the design, execution, and analyzing large, randomized educational studies.

Sir Fazle Hasan and Usha Goswami in 2019 :

Fazle Hasan Abed Founder of BRAC saw education as a critical driver for change when he first started working in development. BRAC’s pre-primary and elementary schools have graduated over 12 million pupils to date. Through play-based child development centers, primary and secondary schools, teenage learning programs, and a university, BRAC provides holistic and happy learning options.

Professor Goswami established the world’s first Centre for Neuroscience in Education, which he now directs. Her study focuses on children’s cognitive development, especially language and literacy development. Her research on dyslexia leads to the revelation that affected children hear words differently, demonstrating that dyslexia is a linguistic disorder rather than a visual disorder, as previously thought. This important discovery is paving the way for the creation of game-changing new educational solutions that will serve millions of dyslexic youngsters throughout the world.

Carl Wieman and Lucy Lake in 2020 :

Prof. Wieman founded and managed the University of British Columbia’s Science Education Initiative, which resulted in broad research-based improvements in university teaching and revolutionized the way science is taught in universities. Physics Education Technology Interactive Simulations, his educational tool, delivers free STEM-related simulations to help secondary and undergraduate college students throughout the world learn.

Lucy Lake, chief executive officer of CAMFED (Campaign for Female Education), and Angeline Murimirwa, executive director – of Africa, were awarded the Yidan Prize for Education Development for their efforts to help marginalized girls’ education.
In Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, the organization has already helped 4.1 million students attend basic and secondary school, as well as six million students benefit from improved educational conditions.

Eric A. Hanushek and Dr. Rukmini Banerji in 2021:

Dr. Rukmini Banerji, Chief Executive Officer of the Pratham Education Foundation, for her work in enhancing learning outcomes in 2021.

Dr. Banerji and her colleagues in India pioneered the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) assessment approach, which revealed literacy and numeracy disparities among children who had previously spent several years in school. Her team’s “Teaching at the Right Level” (TaRL) program works with schools and communities to give fundamental reading and math abilities, ensuring that no child falls behind. Every year, millions of youngsters across the country benefit from this systematic, replicable strategy, which is now expanding around the world.

His work has influenced both research and practice around the world, focusing on educational outcomes and the relevance of teaching quality. His work has proven that it is how much pupils learn—not how many years they spend in school—that strengthens economies, and has helped create the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (provide inclusive and equitable quality education).

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