Sep 28, 2021

Pratham CEO Dr. Rukmini Banerji Awarded The 2021 Yidan Prize for Education Development


Pratham CEO Dr. Rukmini Banerji has been awarded the 2021 Yidan Prize for Education Development – the world’s highest education accolade – for her work in improving learning outcomes.

The Yidan Prize is an inclusive education award that recognizes individuals or teams who have contributed significantly to the theory and practice of education. It consists of two prizes, working in harmony: the Yidan Prize for Education Research and the Yidan Prize for Education Development. Professor Eric A. Hanushek, Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow and Professor, Hoover Institution of Stanford University, is the recipient of the 2021 Yidan Prize for Education Research.

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

With the support of the Yidan Prize, Rukmini plans to strengthen and expand Pratham’s work with young children so that strong foundations can be built early in the lives of more children. This will contribute significantly towards our goal of seeing “every child in school and learning well.”

The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) assessment approach, pioneered by Rukmini and the Pratham / ASER teams in India, has provided data over the years on children’s learning outcomes and schooling status, revealing the “learning crisis”. To close these gaps, Pratham’s “Teaching at the Right Level” (TaRL) program works with school systems 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.

Dorothy K. Gordon, head of the Yidan Prize for Education Development judging panel, and board member of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, said “Dr. Rukmini Banerji and the Pratham team have a clear mission: ‘Every child in school and learning well’. A reminder that we need to focus on education quality and not just school enrollments. The solutions that they have deployed towards this goal have proven to be cost-effective and scalable with a demonstrated potential to impact globally—disruptive education innovation with transformative results”

Professor Eric A. Hanushek’s work focuses on education outcomes and the importance of teaching quality. His work helped shape the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (ensure inclusive and equitable quality education) by reframing targets for learning outcomes and has shown that it’s how much students learn – and not how many years they spend in school – that boosts economies.

The 2021 laureates will be formally recognized at the Yidan Prize Awards Presentation Ceremony and the Yidan Prize Annual Summit held on December 5, 2021.

Watch a short clip from Rukmini here. Read about the prize and laureates here.