From left: Clive Lee, chief executive of the Yidan Prize Foundation; Dr Koichiro Matsuura; Kevin Yeung Yun-hung, Hong Kong secretary for education; Charles Chen Yidan; Andreas Schleicher; and Dorothy Gordon. Photo: Yidan Prize Foundation

Yidan Prize, founded in 2016 by Charles Chen Yidan, a co-founder of Tencent Holdings, on Saturday announced its two 2018 laureates for encouraging education research and development on a global scale.

Larry Hedges, chairman of the Department of Statistics at Northwestern University in Chicago, was awarded the Yidan Prize for Education Research for his statistical methods for meta-analysis in social, medical and biological sciences and synthesizing research findings across studies.

Hedges’ work helps policymakers, educators and the general public to see the evidence for “what works” in the field of education, and makes it possible to take a scientific approach to improving education for future generations.

Anant Agarwal, chief executive of edX, an online learning destination founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has been granted the Yidan Prize for Education Development for making education more accessible to people around the world via the innovative edX open-source online platform.

Founded in 2012, edX currently offers more than 2,000 online courses from more than 130 leading institutions to more than 17 million people around the world and aims to continue increasing its reach. It has also been able to link education and employment by allowing learners to obtain micro certificates.

Each of the two laureates will receive a gold medal and a total sum of HK$30 million (US$3.82 million), including a cash prize of HK$15 million and a project fund of HK$15 million.

The two gold medals will be delivered in Hong Kong on December 9. On the following day, the two laureates and 350 practitioners, researchers, policymakers, business leaders and philanthropists who are interested in the education sector will participate in the Yidan Prize Summit.

This year’s laureates were chosen during a six-month judging process from nearly 1,000 nominations spanning 92 countries by an independent committee led by Dr Koichiro Matsuura, former director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Andreas Schleicher, director of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Directorate of Education and Skills, led the panel judging the Yidan Prize for Education Research, while Dorothy Gordon, chairwoman of UNESCO’s Information for All Program (IFAP), led the panel adjudicating the Yidan Prize for Education Development.

“Education should be an area of interest that goes beyond race, religion, economic status or country of origin,” Chen said in a press briefing on Saturday. He said he hoped every country and region could share the results of education research and development, facilitating more international cooperation in order to create a better world through education.

Read: Cultivating global talents is goal of education: Charles Chen

Read: Two education veterans win Yidan Prize for 2017