25 April 2023
Hong Kong SAR
The New Teacher Foundation, supported by Yidan Prize funding, announces a new rural teacher development program in China

The New Teacher Foundation at Soochow University in China has announced a new rural teacher development program with funding from the Yidan Prize. The foundation was established by Professor Yongxin Zhu, the 2022 Yidan Prize Laureate for Education Development, Founder of the New Education Initiative (NEI) and Professor, School of Education, Soochow University.

Improving the quality of education through teacher development

Professor Yongxin Zhu received the 2022 Yidan Prize for Education Development for his work in improving teaching quality and transforming learning outcomes in China. Under the New Teacher Foundation, the HK$15 million Yidan Prize project fund and HK$15 million cash prize will be used to build on NEI’s Teacher Growth Model, supporting the well-being and development of teachers in China.

The New Teacher Foundation will initially comprise five key programs, which will build the skills of rural teachers to improve the quality of education; provide quality teacher training courses for undergraduate students; provide professional development programs for educators, including school principals and teachers from rural and urban areas; create an online learning platform for teachers across China; and facilitate cross-country learning and exchange.

Starting with Jingning county in Gansu province, four counties will be selected to take part in the first three-year program, with an aim to improve the quality of education and support the development of rural areas. Centered around the growth of rural teachers, the three-year program will build a cross-school peer support network for teachers, foster professional development of teachers by helping them stay up-to-date with the latest research in education, introduce quality resources and best practices to teachers, and facilitate sharing and exchange between schools.

Since it was founded in 2000, the NEI has focused on putting reading, writing, and communication at the center of a collaborative approach to education that empowers teachers and transforms how students and families live and learn. The NEI has grown from a single school to an active network involving over 8,300 schools and 500,000 teachers and reaching more than 8 million children—many based in rural, hard-to-reach areas in China.

The New Teacher Foundation and the rural teacher development program are supported by the Yidan Prize funding. The latter program is also supported by the Bank of Suzhou, Xiwang Learning and Tencent, and will be implemented by the New Education Institute at Soochow University, Changming Education Foundation in Jiangsu Province, Suzhou New Education Research Institute, and other partners.