Ljiljana Lazarević and Đura Pađan, the candidates for the Yidan Prize 2021

The two Best Educators in Serbia are contending for the prestigious global award Yidan Prize amounting to 3.9 million dollars. 

The Yidan Prize Foundation was formally established in 2016 on the initiative of one of the most famous Chinese internet entrepreneurs and philanthropists Dr Charles Chen Yidan.The goal of the Yidan Prize Foundation is to support education through this award and thus contribute to positive changes in society. 

Each year, the Yidan Prize is awarded in 2 areas Education Research and Education development. Education Research includes implementing scientific research with a clear goal, while Education Development refers to educational projects and programs. Besides that, the differences in these two areas are visible even through the application form. Teachers are supposed to provide scientific articles in the field of Education Research, which is not necessary for Education Development. Instead, for Education Development is essential that teachers provide a detailed description of the education project or program. For both applications, it is necessary to submit at least two recommendations and record a two-minute video in which candidates should present the project they are applying for the competition. 

The Yidan Prize is given annually, and in addition to a cash prize of $ 3.9 million, the laureates receive a gold medal and a certificate.   

The association "Živojin Mišić" has been a national partner of the Yidan Prize Foundation since 2018, which means that the project "The Best Educators of Serbia" has become retraining for participation in this competition. This year, Serbian candidates are Ljiljana Lazarević,a teacher at the Mihailo Petrović Alas Elementary School from Belgrade, and Đura Pađan,a teacher of technical and information education at the Vladislav Ribnikar Elementary School from Belgrade. 

Ljiljana Lazarević and Đura Pađan were named the Best Educators of Serbia in 2019 and are this year's candidates for the Yidan Prize in Educational Development. 

What makes Ljiljana and Đura stand out? 

Ljiljana Lazarević,   

Ljiljana Lazarević is a teacher at the Mihailo Petrović Alas Elementary School in Belgrade 

Ljiljana Lazarević is an exceptional teacher who is the initiator, author, or participant in over 20 national and international projects. While working on projects, she pushes boundaries and contributes to the sustainability of projects with her ideas. Through projects, she deals with the prevention of addiction and early and forced child marriages. 

Her classroom is known as the "Classroom without Walls" because it breaks the stereotypes of classical teaching. In one school day, the student is an active member of the class in every moment. She thinks that we should not limit children with our knowledge, so her activities stimulate entrepreneurial, creative, and critical thinking, thus encourage children's activism. She is committed to improving the position of gifted students in Serbia. 

For the last six years, she has been an advocate for the realization of Outdoor classrooms, through which students engaged in hiking would learn and acquire the most important skills for future independent life, but also develop environmental awareness.

She is currently working on implementing the Pilot project "Classroom as I Want it" for which she is also a creator. This project is qualified to be nominated for the Yidan Prize because it has the potential, through the platform, to break geographical boundaries, involve children and teachers from all over the world. The main task of this program is to develop entrepreneurial skills, foster activism and solidarity, to develop creative potentials, to familiarize teachers and students with the crowdfunding way of raising funds. And with the purpose of philanthropy and building better and more humane conditions in the environment where children live and learn. She believes that these are the qualities that this society needs. 

She is a supporter of lifelong learning and the winner of numerous appreciation certificates, recognitions, and awards for her work. As part of the UN women Serbia project, on March 8, 2021, she was selected to be among ten women leaders who contributed to the betterment of society during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also received an appreciation certificate from the Teachers' Association of Serbia for recording TV lessons and contributing to education during the pandemic. She is the holder of the title of the Best Educator of Serbia since 2019. 

Đura Pađan, 

Teacher of technical and informatics education in Primary School “Vladislav Ribnikar” in Belgrade  

From the very beginning of his work, Đura Pađan sees opportunities for improvement and, to that end, makes improvements to the teaching process of the subject he teaches. He made a significant number of didactic tools that represent the author's works. These include computer-controlled models, a construction kit for the eighth grade on the principle of a breadboard with methodical exercises, and a kind of control unit programmed in the C ++ programming language.

He also emphasizes the communication skills necessary for a successful vocation of a teacher. That includes active listening, reflection, and an ability to perceive problems through the student's eyes. His motto best depicts the following Latin proverb: "Who distinguishes well, teaches well."

His most exceptional achievements include several prizes in digital class competitions - two 2nd prizes, one 3rd prize, and a special prize for innovation. Also, Đura won the award for the best educator in Serbia in 2019. He creates a quality teaching process that results in numerous students' successes in competitions. His work with gifted students, with whom he successfully applies the Acceleration method, and his work in the bilingual class in French make his biography unique. He bases his success on the belief that children's opportunities are vast.

The project with which teacher Đura Pađan is applying presents an initiative to innovate the teaching process through information technology. The idea is to include programming in all aspects of information technology application and to achieve cross-curricular correlation. Creative work will allow students to express themselves, and through that, they will get support. The goal is that this project brings school subjects closer to students in a way that they would find interesting. 

That will be achieved by procuring teaching aids in the form of Abilix C1-S robotic kits. The Abilix C1-S Kit enables the creation and programming of technical control systems in the C programming language and develops fine motor skills in children. In addition to the planned exercises, students will have the opportunity to realize their ideas.

The selection of this year's laureates will be in September. Till then, we will be cheering for the representatives of our country at this prestigious world competition, Ljiljana Lazarević and Đuro Pađan! 

You can find information about last year's laureates, and more about the competition itself, here. 


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