Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Honors Two Outstanding Scholars for Their Contributions to Education Reform at Yidan Prize Award Presentation Ceremony

December 11, 2018 - 04:41
Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Honors Two Outstanding Scholars for Their Contributions to Education Reform at Yidan Prize Award Presentation Ceremony

HONG KONG,CHINA - Media OutReach - 10December 2018 - The world's leading educational award, Yidan Prize, announced earlierthis year that the 2018 Yidan Prize for Education Research and Yidan Prize forEducation Development would be awarded to American professor LarryHEDGES and Indian professor Anant Agarwalrespectively.Today, the two laureates traveled to Hong Kong, and under the witness of 350guests, received the awards from Mrs Carrie LAM CHENG Yuet-ngor,the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The twolaureates each received a gold medal and an award of HK$30 million (approximateUS$3.87 million) in recognition and support of their contributions to educationreform.


Prof Larry V. HEDGES, the Yidan Prize for Education Research Laureate, Mrs Carrie Lam, GBM, GBS, the Chief Executive of HKSAR government, Dr Charles CHEN Yidan, Founder of the Yidan Prize and Prof AnantAGARWAL, thethe Yidan Prize forEducation DevelopmentLaureate , attended the Yidan Prize Award Presentation Ceremony 2018.

Mrs Lam noted in her remarks that, "Yidan Prizeis connecting a world of educational innovators, researchers andpolicymakers.  My congratulations to Professor Hedges and ProfessorAgarwal, this year's Yidan Prize Laureates.  The fact that they werechosen from among nearly 1000 nominations spanning more than 90 countries isremarkable testament to their sterling achievement as well as the global reachand reputation of the Yidan Prize."


The Yidan Prize for EducationDevelopment Laureate, Professor Agarwal, is the founder and CEO of edX. Heoriginally taught electrical engineering and computer science at theMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and in fall 2012, he receivedUS$30 million each from Harvard University and MIT and established edX, alarge-scale and not-for-profit online learning platform to "accelerate your future."


Professor Agarwal is committed toproviding free quality education to anyone, irrespective of their educationalbackground in anywhere. Over 130 world-class institutes of higher educationhave participated in edX, including Imperial College London and OxfordUniversity in the United Kingdom; Peking University and Tsinghua University inChina; and The University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong University of Science andTechnology, and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong.


Since its founding, edX has alreadyprovided over 2,000 higher education courses from many world's leadinginstitutions to more than 18 million people around the world, and the number ofofferings continued to expand.


edX strives to make successfulconnections between education and employment. Students who have completed theircourses can obtain a certificate from edX, and many of these certificateholders have gained interview opportunities from multinational companies. Also,many corporate have leveraged the edX platform to enhance the skills of theiremployees. All in all, edX has ushered education into a new chapter.


Professor Agarwal said: "We're reallyhonored and fortunate to have won the Yidan Prize. We want to use the prizemoney to launch radical new efforts that would enable much younger learners,both at the late high school and college level, to get radically increasedaccess and quality for their learning. edX today has 18 million students fromevery single country in the world, and I would love to see in the fullness oftime, billions of students routinely accessing a quality education like thisand education being affordable for everybody everywhere with a will tolearn." 

Professor Hedges, the Yidan Prize forEducation Research Laureate, is the chair of the Department of Statistics atNorthwestern University in Chicago. He is renowned for his development of the statisticalmethods for meta-analysis (SMMS), which can be applied in social science,medical science, and biological science. The SMMS is an innovative method tointegrate transdisciplinary research results, and it allows policymakers,educators, and the general public to see the evidence for "what works" in thefield of education, and makes it possible to take a scientific approach toimproving education for future generations.


Professor Hedges said: "I am honored tobe the Yidan Prize laureate and I'm going to use whatever I gain from thisprize to try and increase the profile of evidence in education for the purposesof improving education. It's important that we avoid any mistakes that can beused to discredit education, to discredit evidence in education science,because there are people who would prefer to make policy decisions on the basisof preferences and superstitions and prejudices rather than on the basis ofevidence."


Dr Charles CHEN Yidan, thefounder of Yidan Prize, offered his heartfelt congratulations to the twolaureates. "I want to congratulate both laureates for being recognized by theindependent judging committee, and for being awarded the Yidan Prize. Yourtheory and projects have transformed many thousands of lives. I'm grateful foryour dedication to education and your contributions to society througheducation. In the future, I look forward to seeing more innovations in allaspects of education systems with wider participation from variousstakeholders."


The Yidan Prize -- world's largest awardin education -- has entered its second year, and it saw around 1,000 nominationsfrom over 92 countries. The independent Judging Committee, led by former UNESCODirector-General Dr Koichiro MATSUURA, had spent half a year toreview and select the laureates. Mr Andreas SCHLEICHER, Directorfor the Directorate of Education and Skills at OECD, is the head of the YidanPrize for Education Research Judging Panel, whereas the Yidan Prize forEducation Development Judging Panel is headed by Ms Dorothy K. GORDON,the Chair of UNESCO's Information for All Programme.


Comparing with the inaugural year, thisyear saw a 70 percent increase in the number of nominations, and they came from151 countries and regions. These numbers are a solid testimonial to YidanPrize's worldwide recognition.


The Yidan Prize Summit will be held on10 December 2018. Apart from the two laureates, the speaker list includes manyheavyweight international leaders, including HRH Princess Laurentien ofthe Netherlands, the opening keynote speaker; United Nations Special Envoy onGlobal Education and former British Prime Minister Rt Hon Gordon BROWN,the closing keynote speaker; Mrs Graça MACHEL, the wife of formerSouth African PresidentNelson MANDELA; Minister Naledi PANDOR,the South African Minister of Higher Education; Ms Yaneth GIHA,Former Minister of Education, Colombia; Mr Ronnie C. Chan, Co-Chairof Asia Society; Mr Ruben VARDANYAN, a Russian philanthropist; andMr Terry VIRTS, a former NASA astronaut. They will be joined by 350academics, researchers, policymakers, business leaders, philanthropists, andleading educators. Details can be found atsummit.yidanprize.org.


We now accept nominations for the thirdYidan Prize, and the deadline is March 2019.

About Yidan Prize


Established in 2016 by Dr Charles CHENYidan, a co-founder of Tencent, Yidan Prize has a mission to create a betterworld through education. Yidan Prize consists of two awards: Yidan Prize forEducation Research and Yidan Prize for Education Development. Yidan PrizeLaureate receives a gold medal and a total sum of HK$30 million (around US$3.9million). Half of this amount is in the form of a cash prize to the laureate,while the other half is a project fund. To ensure transparency andsustainability, the prize is managed by Yidan Prize Foundation and governed byan independent trust with an endowment of HK$2.5 billion (around US$323million). Through a series of initiatives, the prize serves to establish aplatform that allows the global community to engage in conversation aroundeducation and to play a role in education philanthropy.