Professor Eric Hanushek and Dr Rukmini Banerji awarded the 2021 Yidan Prize - the world's highest education accolade
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Professor Eric Hanushek and Dr Rukmini Banerji awarded the 2021 Yidan Prize - the world's highest education accolade

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HONG KONG, Sept. 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Professor Eric A. Hanushek and Dr Rukmini Banerji have been awarded the 2021 Yidan Prize, the world's highest education accolade, in recognition of their ground-breaking work addressing a crucial piece of the education puzzle: improving quality of education and outcomes for learners at




Following a rigorous judging process, conducted by an independent judging committee of recognized education experts, Professor Eric A. Hanushek and Dr Rukmini Banerji were selected as the recipients of the 2021 Yidan Prize for Education Research and Yidan Prize for Education Development. They will join nine laureates who have been awarded the Yidan Prize since its inception in 2016, established by the Yidan Prize Foundation - a global philanthropic education foundation that inspires progress and change in education. 

Supporting 2021 laureates to improve teaching quality and learning outcomes 

Professor Eric Hanushek, Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution of Stanford University, is awarded the 2021 Yidan Prize for Education Research. His work focuses on education outcomes and the importance of teaching quality and has transformed both research and policy internationally. His work helped shape the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (ensure inclusive and equitable quality education) by reframing targets for learning outcomes and has shown that it's how much students learn – and not how many years they spend in school – that boosts economies. 

With the Yidan Prize funding, Professor Hanushek is planning a research fellow program in Africa, supporting analytical capacity to shape education. 

Dr Rukmini Banerji, Chief Executive Officer of the Pratham Education Foundation, is awarded the 2021 Yidan Prize for Education Development for her work in improving learning outcomes. The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) assessment approach, pioneered by Dr Banerji and her team, revealed literacy and numeracy gaps among children who had already spent several years at school. To close these gaps, her team's "Teaching at the Right Level" (TaRL) program works with schools and local communities to provide basic reading and arithmetic skills, ensuring no children are left behind. This systematic, replicable model reaches millions of children in India annually and is spreading around the globe. 

With the support of the Yidan Prize, Dr Banerji plans to strengthen and expand Pratham's work with young children so that strong foundations can be built early in a child's life. She believes this will contribute significantly towards the goal of seeing "every child in school and learning well". 

Each laureate will be awarded HK$30 million (approximately US$3.9 million), half of which is a project fund – enabling a series of innovative and progressive education projects to scale up and support millions of learners globally. Together, the laureates' projects are helping make the world a better place through education. 

All laureates will join the Yidan Council of Luminaries members to work collaboratively and speak with a collective voice - to shed light on the importance of restoring and rethinking education with innovative ideas. 

2022 Yidan Prize nominations open on 19 October  

Nominations for the 2022 Yidan Prize will be open from 19 October 2021 until March 2022. 

About the Yidan Prize Foundation and Yidan Prize 

The Yidan Prize Foundation is a global philanthropic foundation, with a mission of creating a better world through education. Through its network of innovators, the foundation supports ideas and practices in education—specifically, ones with the power to positively change lives and society.  

The Yidan Prize is an inclusive education accolade that recognizes individuals or teams who have contributed significantly to education.  

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