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NEW DELHI : Rukmini Banerji, chief executive officer of India’s Pratham Education Foundation, has been awarded 2021 Yidan Prize for Education Development, a top global recognition in the field of education for her work in improving learning outcome in schools.

Besides Banerji, Eric Hanushek, a professor at Stanford University, has been conferred with the 2021 Yidan Prize for Education Research.

Koichiro Matsuura, chairman of the Hong Kong-based Yidan Prize Judging Committee and former director-general of Unesco, said, "[Every year] year we champion individuals or teams who bring game-changing ideas into education research and education development. They’re shaping a brighter future by transforming how we teach and learn."

“Both [Eric and Rukmini] are tackling a crucial piece of the education puzzle: improving quality of education and outcomes for learners. Eric’s research has shown that above all it is the quality of education that underpins the economic health of their nations. Rukmini has led unprecedented work in understanding why some children aren’t leaving school with essential reading and writing skills," the Yidan prize committee said in its official website.

Founded in 2016 by Charles Chen Yidan, Yidan Prize has a mission to create a better world through education. Yidan Prize consists of two awards: Yidan Prize for Education Research and Yidan Prize for Education Development. Yidan Prize Laureate receives a gold medal and a total sum of HK$30 million ($3.9 million) including a cash prize of HK$15 million ($1.9 million) and a project fund of HK$15 million.

"[Banerji] 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 in India, 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) programme 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 annually across the country and is spreading around the globe," the Yidan foundation said.

Banerji and Eric will join nine laureates who have been awarded the Yidan Prize since its inception in 2016. This year’s nominations pool was diverse with nominees from over 130 countries and territories.

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