Professor Yongxin Zhu

Founder, New Education Initiative (NEI)


Teacher professional development; Student wellbeing; Primary and secondary education; Literacy for all



Redesigning the future of schooling through collaborative teaching

Professor Zhu founded the New Education Initiative (NEI) in 2000, and has led it ever since. Its systemic concepts and methods have helped to create a structure for school ecosystems: empowering teachers and students to achieve wellbeing through a growth mindset for learning.


Professor Zhu believes a good education increases wellbeing, and helps people discover their better selves—developing their full potential as students, teachers, or parents. But exam-driven education systems encourage teachers to focus on standardized test scores: achieving a one-size fits all standard rather than building on individual strengths. Instead, NEI advocates continuous learning. And Professor Zhu wants teaching to be seen as aspirational, and to emphasize professional development through academic reading, writing, journaling, and speaking.


Over past two decades, 5,600 schools in 31 municipalities, provinces, and autonomous regions of China—half of which are located in rural and resource-limited areas—have participated in NEI. It’s created some of the most highly recognized communities of teachers and learners in the country.


As such, community is at the heart of the NEI approach, and the team is developing more ways to help teachers work together. With our support through the Yidan Prize project funds, Professor Zhu established the New Teacher Foundation at Soochow University in mainland China. Centered around the growth of teachers, the three-year program will build a cross-school peer support network for teachers, helping them stay up-to-date with the latest research in education, introducing quality resources, and facilitating sharing and exchange of best practices between schools. Professor Zhu is inviting fellow luminaries to contribute to the program through guest lectures.

Share this page with others