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Brac founder Sir Fazle Hasan Abed receives Yidan Prize

  • Published at 04:13 pm September 19th, 2019
web-brac Sir Fazle Hasan Abed
File photo of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed Courtesy

Yidan Prize, founded in 2016 in Hong Kong, is the biggest international prize in education

Brac founder and Chair Emeritus Sir Fazle Hasan Abed has been awarded the prestigious Yidan Prize, the largest international prize in education, for his groundbreaking role in educational development in Bangladesh.

The Yidan Prize Foundation made the announcement in a statement issued on Thursday.

The founder of Yidan Prize, Dr Charles Chen Yidan, said: “Knowledge attainment is an area that transcends racial, religious, economic and national boundaries. This affects everything starting from human health, the environment to well-being and personal fulfilment. 

“I hope every country and region gets benefited from the results of the best research and development, and help to create a better world through education.”

Thanking the Yidan Prize authorities, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed said: “Early childhood is a critical time to provide learning opportunities to children to ensure optimal development. BRAC, therefore, is engaged in research on play-based learning for children, aged from 3-5 years including displaced children living in refugee camps and suffering from trauma, whose well-being and resilience can be enhanced through play.

“I hope the world’s leaders will realize the potential of this play-based education model, which can develop an individuals’ life in a more social and organized manner.”

Sir Abed also said the very generous Yidan Prize funding would allow them to expand their educational activities. 

“We plan to use the funds for two purposes: strengthening our existing basic education program, and establishing new Play Labs,” he added.

Originating in Hong Kong, the Yidan prize is managed by the Yidan Prize Foundation and governed by an independent trust.

It consists of two awards: the Yidan Prizes for education research and education development. This year, the prize for education research was awarded to Usha Goswami, professor of cognitive developmental neuroscience at the University of Cambridge.

As a Yidan Prize laureate, Sir Abed will receive a gold medal at the award presentation ceremony, scheduled to be held in December in Hong Kong, and HK$30 million (around $3.9 million or Tk33 crore), half of which is a cash prize and the other half a project fund.

From the beginning of his foray into development work, Sir Abed viewed education as a crucial catalyst to bring change in the society. To date, more than 12 million children have graduated from Brac’s pre-primary and primary schools, said a statement issued by Brac on Thursday. 

Currently, Brac is running a total of 656 play labs across Bangladesh, Uganda and Tanzania, reaching out to around 11,500 children every day. The Brac Institute of Educational Development has also developed a play-based solution, called the Humanitarian Play Lab (HPL) model, to help refugee children learn and heal from trauma.