The Hong Kong-based Yidan Prize Foundation has announced the 2020 winners of the Yidan Prize for Education Research and Yidan Prize for Education Development.
Carl Wieman, who holds a joint appointment as a professor of physics and in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University, was awarded the Yidan Prize for Education Research for his contributions to the development of new techniques and tools in STEM education, while Lucy Lake, executive director of CAMFED (Campaign for Female Education), and Angeline Murimirwa, CAMFED's executive director for Africa, were awarded the Yidan Prize for Education Development. Selected from nominations received from a hundred and three countries, this year's laureates will receive HK$30 million ($3.9 million) — HK$15 million in the form of a cash prize and HK$15 million for a project fund of their choice.
Wieman established and directed the Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia, which helped transform the way science is taught in major universities, and has produced pedagogical and research tools like the PhET (Physics Education Technology) Interactive Simulation, which provides researcher-learners at the undergraduate level with access to more than a hundred and fifty simulations across a variety of STEM topics. He plans to use the prize funds to further develop the simulation, with the aim of reaching a global audience at all age levels.
Through its Learner Guides initiative, CAMFED provides a scalable and replicable approach to inclusive and equitable quality education for girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa. With the prize money, Lake and Murimirwa's team will scale the program with an initial commitment to train twenty thousand Learner Guides and help a million adolescent girls in five sub-Saharan African countries.
Established by Tencent co-founder Charles Chen Yidan, the Yidan Prizes are the world's largest international award for education.
"Education transformation is more important than ever. The outstanding achievements and commitment of this year's laureates demonstrate that in a post-pandemic world, education continues to be of vital importance to solving future problems and creating positive change in individuals, communities, and the environment. Innovative ideas and practices are key to driving progress in education to create a better world," said Chen. "This year has been challenging for many in the education system with COVID-19 causing unprecedented disruption to learning and to schools. It is therefore crucial that we champion people with the courage to bring educational change and reimagine the future of education."