Tencent Co-founder’s Yidan Prize Honors California Education Board President With $3.9 Million

Micaela Ricaforte
By Micaela Ricaforte
November 3, 2022Californiashare

California Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond, who is involved in research that aids the development of local and federal education policy, has been awarded $3.9 million as the winner of the Yidan Prize—the largest education accolade in the world—founded by a Chinese billionaire.

This year’s recipients were announced on Sep. 28 during a Stanford Graduate School of Education conference.

The Hong Kong-based Yidan Prize started in 2016 by Yidan Chen—co-founder of China’s tech and social media giant Tencent—allows recipients to keep half of the money as a personal reward, and to use the other half to support their education projects.

Darling-Hammond received the education research prize, while Yongxin Zhu, a professor of education at Soochow University in China, received the education development prize for his work improving learning outcomes in China.

Darling-Hammond, who is also a professor emeritus at Stanford University and the founder of the Learning Policy Institute in Palo Alto, Calif., and Washington, D.C., said she will use her funds to expand a new initiative for the institute—the Educator Preparatory Lab.

stanford-uni-campus
People walk by Hoover Tower on the Stanford University campus in Stanford, Calif., on March 12, 2019. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The lab seeks to better prepare educators through research, networking, and collaboration with other programs, school districts, and policymakers at the state and federal levels.

“My own research has sought to understand how schools can better support student learning, especially for those most underserved in our society, and then to create the systems that will enable transformations of practice at scale,” Darling-Hammond said in a video released by the Yidan Foundation. “That quest has led me to study classrooms, schools, school systems, and educator preparation programs throughout the United States and around the world.”

Chen co-founded Tencent in 1998—which has been a tool for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to monitor online public speech and suppress dissidents in China, according to previous reports by The Epoch Times. Tencent owns WeChat—a Twitter-like social media app that has more than 1 billion active users in 2022, according to an industry report, making it one of the largest mobile apps in the world.

Chen served as the company’s chief administrative officer before stepping down in 2013 to focus on philanthropy in education.

He also founded a private university in China called Wuhan College in 2013, which focuses on “whole-person development” and aims to train students to join China’s tech industry.

His net worth has been estimated at $3.5 billion, according to Forbes.

WeChat app is seen on a smartphone
WeChat app on a smartphone, on July 13, 2021. (Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Reuters)

From The Epoch Times

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