Propelling China’s largest education reform experiment
“I am looking forward to the Yidan Council of Luminaries’ contribution to the reform and development of education in China. I hope that the outstanding achievements of the Yidan Prize will benefit Chinese education, especially in the western and rural areas.
I hope Yidan Prize laureates, as well as the outstanding educators of the world, will regularly hold lectures and conduct further training in China, in order to cultivate excellent teachers for China and contribute wisdom to the country’s education.”
— Professor Zhu Yong-xin
Professor Zhu Yong-xin is the Deputy Secretary-General and Standing Committee member of the National Committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Vice Chairman of Central Committee of China Association for Promoting Democracy, and the Vice President of the China Institute of Education and Social Development. He also works as a professor and PhD supervisor in Soochow University, and he is co-founder of the China Education 30 Forum and 21th Century Education Development Academy.
In 2000, Professor Zhu founded the New Education Initiative, China’s largest education reform experiment, and has led its development ever since. Its systemic concepts and methods have helped to develop teacher agency and create an enabling structure for school ecosystems that empower teachers and students to achieve well-being through a growth mindset for learning at very low cost. Over the past two decades, 5,200 schools in 31 municipalities, provinces and autonomous regions of China, half of which are located in rural and poverty-stricken areas, have participated in the initiative. It has changed the careers of 500,000 teachers and improved the academic performance and core competencies of 5.5 million students.
As an education thought leader, Professor Zhu’s concepts and methods have had a profound and far-reaching impact on education innovation in China and the world. He has published over 600 papers and over 40 books in Chinese and English. His 20 plus monographs – such as Future Schools and To Teachers – have been translated into more than 20 languages and published in over 40 countries and regions.
His unremitting pursuit and persistent action to the educational ideal moved tens of thousands of people. He has been selected as the national “Spokesperson of Reading for All”, “Contemporary Educator”, “China Education 60 people in 60 years”, “Top 10 Education Talents in China”, and won the IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award of 2020.
Influencing reform of education in China
Professor Zhu founded the New Education Experiment (NEE) in 2000, with an aim to influence the reform of education in China from knowledge-oriented to people-oriented.
NEE’s curriculum focuses on 1) teachers’ growth and development, and 2) encouraging students to read through various in-school programs.
Over the past 21 years, over 5,216 NEE schools were built, reaching nearly 6 million teachers and students. Most of the NEE schools are located in rural areas of China, some of which are the most poverty-stricken counties in the nation.
Professor Zhu also created the “Teacher Growth Model (TGM)” that encourages teachers to cultivate the skills of professional reading, writing, and communication. China’s Ministry of Education has recognized the positive impacts of TGM and is considering including the model into the National Training Program for Primary and Secondary School Teachers. Research shows that NEE school students performed notably better in the categories of reading interest, abilities, habits, and the sense of school-belonging.
Drawing from NEE’s curriculum, Professor Zhu proposed more than 30 new educational policies, more than 10 of which have been adopted, influencing China’s crucial national educational decisions.