On Sept. 15 the Yidan Prize named MIT professor and edX co-founder Anant Agarwal as one of two 2018 laureates. The Yidan Prize judging panel, led by former Director-General of UNESCO Koichiro Matsuura, took more than six months to consider over 1,000 nominations spanning 92 countries. The Yidan Prize consists of two awards: the Yidan Prize for Education Development, awarded to Agarwal for making education more accessible to people around the world via the edX online platform, and the Yidan Prize for Education Research, awarded to Larry V. Hedges of Northwestern University for his groundbreaking statistical methods for meta-analysis.
Agarwal is the CEO of edX, the online learning platform founded by MIT and Harvard University in 2012. He taught the first MITx course on edX, which drew 155,000 students from 162 countries. Agarwal has been leading the organization’s rapid growth since its founding. EdX currently offers over 2,000 online courses from more than 130 leading institutions to more than 17 million people around the world.
MITx, MIT’s portfolio of MOOCs delivered through edX, has also continued to expand its offerings, launching the MicroMasters credential in 2015. The credential has now been adopted by over 20 edX partners who have launched 50 different MicroMasters programs.
“I am extremely honored to receive this incredible recognition on behalf of edX, our worldwide partners and learners, from Dr. Charles Chen Yidan and the Yidan Prize Foundation. I also want to thank MIT and Harvard, our founding partners, for their pivotal role in making edX the transformative force in education that it is today. Yidan’s mission to create a better world through education is at the heart of what edX strives to do. This award will help us fulfill our commitment to reimagine education and further our mission to expand access to high-quality education for everyone, everywhere,” says Agarwal.
The Yidan Prize
Founded in 2016 by Charles Chen Yidan, the Yidan Prize aims to create a better world through education. The Yidan Prize for Education Research and the Yidan Prize for Education Development will be awarded in Hong Kong on December 2018 by The Honorable Mrs. Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Following the ceremony, the laureates will be joined by about 350 practitioners, researchers, policymakers, business leaders, philanthropists, and global leaders in education to launch the 2018 edition of the Worldwide Educating for the Future Index (WEFFI), the first comprehensive index to evaluate inputs into education systems rather than outputs, such as test scores.
Dorothy K. Gordon, chair of UNESCO IFAP and head of the judging panel, commends Professor Agarwal for his work behind the MOOC movement. “EdX gives people the tools to decide where to learn, how to learn, and what to learn. It brings education into the sharing economy, enabling access for people who were previously excluded from the traditional system of education because of financial, geographic, or social constraints. It is the ultimate disrupter with the ability to reach every corner of the world that is internet enabled, decentralizing and democratizing education.’’
Vice President for Open Learning Sanjay Sarma praises edX for creating a platform “where learners from all over the world can access high-quality education and also for enabling MIT faculty and other edX university partners to rethink how digital technologies can enhance on-campus education by providing a platform that empowers researchers to advance the understanding of teaching through online learning.”