Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 17 October 2019

Dh28 million in education prizes for pioneering dyslexia researcher and social worker empowering world's poorest girls

Yidan Prize awarded for third year is world's largest and was created by Chinese technology entrepreneur Charles Chen Yidan

Charles Chen Yidan at the 2017 ceremony. Courtesy Yidan Prize Foundation
Charles Chen Yidan at the 2017 ceremony. Courtesy Yidan Prize Foundation

A Cambridge University professor whose research is helping teach dyslexic and special needs children how to read and the Bangladeshi founder of an NGO empowering young girls to escape poverty through learning have been awarded the largest international education prize.

Usha Goswami, Professor of Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge, has won the Yidan Prize for Education Research, while Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of BRAC, has been given the Yidan Prize for Education Development. Each laureate receives a gold medal and HK$30 million (Dh14m), half of which is in cash with the rest in project funding. Professor Goswami is a researcher in the fields of literacy, neuroscience and education.

Professor Usha Goswami, Professor of Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge,  
Professor Usha Goswami, Professor of Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge,

"Thanks to her work, educators can now understand how children’s phonological awareness underpins reading development and dyslexia," said Andreas Schleicher, director for the OECD’s Directorate of Education and Skills and head of the panel judging the prize for Education Research.

Established in 1972, and operating across 11 countries in Africa and Asia, BRAC's primary objectives are alleviating poverty and empowering the poor and Mr Abed's innovative Play Labs allow the most vulnerable children, especially girls, to obtain high-quality and low-cost early education, the Yizad Prize said.

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder  of BRAC. Reuters
Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of BRAC. Reuters

They will receive their awards at a ceremony in Hong Kong in December.

Charles Chen Yidan, a co-founder of Chinese internet conglomerate Tencent, created the education prizes in 2016. It is managed by the Yidan Prize Foundation and governed by an independent trust with an endowment of HK$2.5 billion.

Updated: September 18, 2019 05:04 PM

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