Hong Kong SAR, 6 December 2021 – The Yidan Prize Foundation, the global philanthropic foundation behind the world’s highest education accolade, hosted the 2021 Yidan Prize Summit and Awards Presentation Ceremony yesterday.
The global hybrid event brought together policymakers and education experts to debate and discuss both the world’s most pressing education issues, and practical, innovative solutions for a better future. The event also celebrated and formally recognized the forward-thinking work of this year’s Yidan Prize laureates.
In a series of panel discussions, attendees discussed new ideas to bring fair, accessible, quality education to all. Major themes included the learning losses arising from the pandemic, scalable education solutions, and learning through play. UNESCO’s newly released report on ‘Reimagining Our Futures Together: A New Social Contract for Education’ was also addressed, with prominent education leaders sharing their views on the importance of education in ensuring young people obtain the skills and capabilities needed for a bright and prosperous future.
Highlights from the ‘Creating a Better Future Through Education’ Summit
In the first panel, Professor Eric A. Hanushek, 2021 Yidan Prize for Education Research Laureate, and Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution of Stanford University, stressed the critical role of teachers in enriching the quality of education for children. The distinguished panel of economists concluded with a call for more support for the teachers tackling knowledge gaps in children.
In another panel, Dr Rukmini Banerji, 2021 Yidan Prize for Education Development Laureate, and CEO of Pratham Education Foundation, shared her thoughts on why children fall behind in school, and whether school curricula are too fast paced for children to keep up. She was joined by Professor Esther Duflo and Professor Abhijit Banerjee, 2019 Nobel Prize Laureates in Economics, to discuss how to implement meaningful changes in education—from developing scalable and effective solutions, to continuously adapting the curriculum to ensure that it is at every child’s level.
Panelists included Dr Sobhi Tawil, Director, Future of Learning and Innovation, UNESCO; Dr Jaime Saavedra, Senior Director, Education Global Practice, World Bank Group; Professor Ludger Woessmann, Professor of Economics, University of Munich; and Mr Andreas Schleicher, head of the Yidan Prize for Education Research judging panel, and Director for the OECD’s Directorate of Education and Skills, among others.
A celebration of the 2021 Yidan Prize laureates
Following an afternoon of focused debate and discussion, the event concluded with an awards ceremony, officiated by the Honorable Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, GBM, GBS, Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR, celebrating the remarkable work and achievements of this year’s Yidan Prize laureates.
Professor Hanushek and Dr Banerji were formally awarded the 2021 Yidan Prize for Education Research and Education Development in recognition of their ground-breaking work addressing a crucial piece of the education puzzle: improving quality of education and outcomes for learners at scale.
Dr Charles CHEN Yidan, Founder of the Yidan Prize said, “Today, we celebrate Professor Hanushek’s and Dr Banerji’s work. In a world that is recovering from the pandemic, we need more effective innovations. Let’s reimagine the future: A future where innovations bring real and impactful change. This is a future we can create and a world we would all be very happy to be part of. Together, we can create a better world through education.”
Nominations for 2022 Yidan Prize are now open
Nominations for the 2022 Yidan Prize are now open until 31 March 2022. Each prize is HK$30 million (approximately US$3.9 million), half of which is a project fund dispersed over three years. The Yidan Prize Foundation will host a webinar on 12 January 2022 to share more information about the prize, how to enter and what judges look for in a laureate. More information on how to sign up can be found here.