Innovation around the world recognized at inaugural Yidan Prize Summit
The future of education has long been a hotly debated topic and is not without controversy. In the United States, support for charter schools vs. public schools is a divisive issue that often pits friends and neighbors against one another. There are a number of studies that have been conducted over the years yet there is still no conclusive answer as to which approach is better for students. And yet there are individuals, non-profit organizations and for-profit companies innovating every day to help improve outcomes and ultimately improve lives.
In 2016, Charles Yidan, co-founder of Chinese Internet powerhouse Tencent, established the Yidan Prize with the belief that education can create a better world. The Yidan Prize recognizes individuals whose work makes profound contributions to education research and development. The organization will award HK$60 million (around US$7.8 million) annually to innovators in education. The award is divided into two categories: Yidan Prize for Education Research, which recognizes outstanding research that amounts to significant contributions to education, and the Yidan Prize for Education Development, which recognizes innovative ideas that tackle pressing challenges in the field of education. Each Yidan Prize Laureate receives a gold medal and HK$30 million (US$3.9 million) worth of awards, which include a cash prize of HK$15 million (US$1.9 million) and a project fund of HK$15 million.
The inaugural event takes place this December in Hong Kong and will recognize the first two Yidan Prize laureates: Vicky Colbert, Founder and Director of Fundación Escuela Nueva in Colombia; and Carol S. Dweck, Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University in the U.S.
Ms. Colbert, recipient of the 2017 Yidan Prize for Education Development, is being recognized for her work innovating and adapting the Escuela Nueva model to ensure its quality and sustainability. New developments include conceptualizations around peace education, citizenship development, cooperative learning and democratic behaviors. Her work has brought a broad, profound and lasting impact on education quality across the developing world. The Escuela Nueva model has addressed fundamental issues in global education – providing high quality schooling for rural areas, and is proven to be impactful for its scalable outcomes in many countries and has been continuously expanded and developed for over three decades.
Ms. Dweck, recipient of the 2017 Yidan Prize for Education Research, is being recognized for work in the field of achievement motivation. Her groundbreaking research focuses on the pioneering concept of the“growth mindset”built on a fundamental belief in the malleability of intelligence. Her findings that the key element to motivating a person is making them believe that they can improve their skills if they focus more on the process of achieving a certain outcome rather than emphasizing the result has resulted in documented improvements in student outcomes. The ground-breaking findings of this research can mean that the current state of education process can be changed to give more children opportunity to strive in class, develop skills, and more importantly develop a mindset that will breed innovations and lead the future.
An awards ceremony recognizing the Laureates will take place the evening of December 10, 2017 in Hong Kong followed by the Yidan Prize Summit, an international educational event focused on the future of global education. Attendees will debate broad topics including ways to implement innovative learning, closing the skills gap in an automated world, investing in educational work that bridges us to a world that has yet to emerge and the critical question of how to achieve education for all by 2030.
At the Summit, the Economist Intelligence Unit will drive an in-depth discussion around Worldwide Educating for the Future Index, a global study on education across 35 economies, representing 88% of global GDP and 77% of global population, commissioned by the Yidan Prize Foundation.
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