Doctoral winners announced as innovation in education debated at major Yidan Prize Foundation conference

Three Portrait Girls smiling in school 1st January 2000, Medinipur, West bengal,

Three Portrait Girls smiling in school 1st January 2000, Medinipur, West bengal, India Credit: Shutterstock

Five young academics have been selected and recognised for their exemplary work in the field of Education at the 1st International Yidan Prize Doctoral Conference, co-hosted by Oxford as part of the Conference Series, on 27 May. The Foundation’s first International Yidan Prize Doctoral Conference supports the new generation of education researchers.

The winners are: Aneyn O’Grady and McQueen Sum, from Oxford’s Department of Education; Lydia Lymperis from Newcastle University; Ziyun Deng from Harvard University and Junping Cui from University College London.

The doctoral conference came as fast-moving inequalities in education were discussed in the prequel to the Yidan Prize Conference Series: Europe 2021. These disparities have been particularly marked over the last year, as education around the world has been affected by the pandemic.  In line with the Yidan Prize Foundation’s commitment to foster talents in education research, the Foundation hosted its first International Yidan Prize Doctoral Conference. The conference looked at the future of education and what skills young people need in order to pursue challenges they face.

During the doctoral conference, Dr Rebecca Eynon , Professor of Education, the Internet and Society at the University of Oxford, spoke about the datafication of education in the future, while Ms Lucy Lake and Ms Angeline Murimirwa shared how CAMFED addresses the intersectionality of education, inequality and technology in sub-Saharan Africa with doctoral students.

The world is changing very quickly. The pandemic has highlighted gaps in education globally, from access and inclusion, to the digital divide. Education never stops. Communication, collaboration and action must move forward.

The Yidan Prize Foundation and University of Oxford review panel selected five doctoral students with the best papers as winners. They have been invited to join the Yidan Prize Summit and Awards Presentation Ceremony in Hong Kong in December.

They are also invited to an exclusive meeting with the 2021 Yidan Prize laureates. Conference papers will be printed in a volume of proceedings from the Yidan Prize Doctoral Conference.

The Yidan Prize Conference Series was hosted by the Yidan Prize Foundation in partnership with Oxford’s Department of Education on 28 May.

Education leaders from UNESCO, the universities of Harvard, Oxford and Northwestern, as well as CAMFED (Campaign for Female Education) and Fundación Escuela Nueva (FEN) considered new and emerging approaches, methods and systems.

Dr Charles CHEN Yidan, Founder of the Yidan Prize, said: ’The world is changing very quickly. The pandemic has highlighted gaps in education globally, from access and inclusion, to the digital divide. Education never stops. Communication, collaboration and action must move forward. We are all connected, and we should be working towards the same goals. We must continue to learn no matter how far along we think we are on this journey.’

We are delighted to work with the Yidan Prize Foundation in organising this important conference. Dr Charles CHEN Yidan is committed to the advancement of education as a means of improving all our lives. 

Professor Louise Richardson, Oxford’s Vice-Chancellor, said: ’We are delighted to work with the Yidan Prize Foundation in organising this important conference. Dr Charles CHEN Yidan is committed to the advancement of education as a means of improving all our lives. He and his colleagues have been at the forefront of recognising, supporting and rewarding leaders in the field of education and I have no doubt that they will continue to do so in the years to come.’

With a new global learning landscape gradually emerging from the pandemic, which disrupted the education of 90% of students worldwide, the conference considered what the longer-term future of education could and should look like.

How motivation in classrooms affects behaviour

In the first panel on how motivation affects behaviour in education, speakers considered strategies to dismantle barriers to engagement and develop more inclusive education systems. Speakers included:

  • Ms Vicky Colbert , Yidan Prize for Education Development Laureate 2017; Founder and Director, FEN;
  • Professor Harry Daniels , Professor of Education, Oxford’s Department of Education;
  • Ms Lucy Lake , Yidan Prize for Education Development Laureate 2020; Chief Executive Officer, CAMFED and
  • Ms Angeline Murimirwa , Yidan Prize for Education Development Laureate 2020; Executive Director - Africa, CAMFED.

Scientific approach to improving teaching outcomes

The second panel discussion focused on innovation in education from a scientific perspective. The panel explored science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and how a scientific approach can improve teaching outcomes. Speakers included:

  • Professor Sibel Erduran , Professor of Science Education, University of Oxford;
  • Professor Larry Hedges , Yidan Prize for Education Research Laureate 2018; Chairman, Department of Statistics, Northwestern University;
  • Professor Thomas Kane , Member of the Yidan Council of Luminaries; Walter H. Gale Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education and
  • Professor Carl Wieman , Yidan Prize for Education Research Laureate 2020; Professor of Physics and Graduate School of Education and DRC Chair, Stanford University.

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