This year’s Yidan Prize has been awarded to professor Eric A. Hanushek and Dr Rukmini Banerji, in recognition of their groundbreaking work in improving the quality of education and outcomes for learners at scale. The Yidan Prize—established by philanthropist and Tencent co-founder, Charles Chen Yidan—is the world’s highest education accolade.
It consists of two prizes: the Yidan Prize for Education Research and Yidan Prize for Education Development. Awardees receive a project fund of HK$15 million over three years to help them with their work, a gold medal and an additional cash prize of HK$15 million.
Established in 2016, the prize gives educational innovators the recognition and support that they deserve in order to advance global social development and a better world through education. “I wanted to set up a platform that would allow the global community to share new ideas and discuss issues related to the current and future development of education and its effect on future generations. To me, education is the fundamental driving force for social progress,” Chen said to Tatler back in December 2019.
This year's laureates have been chosen following a rigorous judging process, conducted by an independent judging committee of recognised experts. Professor Eric A Hanushek, who is a Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at Hoover Institution of Stanford University, was selected for the Education Research prize.
His work focuses on education outcomes and the importance of teaching quality and has transformed both research and policy internationally. He has helped shape the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education by reframing targets for learning outcomes. He was also able to show that how much students learn—not only many years they spent in school—boosts economies instead.
With his prize, Professor Hanushek is planning to initiate a research fellow program in Africa to support and shape education policies from a local perspective. “From designing better and fairer systems for evaluating teacher performance to linking better learning outcomes to long-run economic and social progress, he has made an amazing range of education policy areas amenable to rigorous economic analysis,” said Mr Andreas Schleicher, head of the Yidan Prize for Education Research judging panel.