Soochow and Stanford professors win Yidan prizes

Founder of China’s New Education Initiative will use award money to expand programme’s reach to rural areas

September 29, 2022

A Chinese professor is one of two winners of a Yidan prize, one of the most valuable accolades in education research globally.

Yongxin Zhu receives the 2022 Yidan Prize for Education Development for his contributions to improving teaching quality and transforming learning outcomes in China.

A professor at Soochow University, in Suzhou, China, Professor Zhu is one of two researchers to win the $3.9 million (£3.6 million) prize, half of which is allocated to scaling up the researchers’ education projects.

The first scholar from East Asia to win the prize, he receives it for his work founding China’s New Education Initiative (NEI), which has supported the development of some 500,000 teachers in more than 8,300 schools, affecting 8 million students across China – more than half of them in rural areas.

Professor Zhu plans to use the Yidan funding to expand NEI’s reach to remote areas and develop a cloud-based learning hub.

Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun professor of education emeritus at Stanford University, wins the Yidan Prize for Education Research this year for her work on the most “equitable and effective ways to teach and learn”.

“Her influence on public policy has helped policy architects shape positive changes for children on a large scale,” said Andreas Schleicher, head of the Yidan Prize for Education Research judging panel and director for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Directorate of Education and Skills.

Professor Darling-Hammond becomes the fourth Stanford scholar to have won the prize since its founding.

The Yidan Prize, the world’s largest international prize in education research and development, was launched in 2016 by Charles Chen Yidan, the founder of investment company Tencent Holdings, which is the creator of free messaging app WeChat.

It honours individuals and teams that have significantly contributed to the theory and practice of education.

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