4 ECNU females make Forbes 30 Under 30 list

2018-08-13

THREE former students of ECNU and one professor, have made the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 China List for 2018. The list, launched last week by business magazine Forbes, highlights 600 of the most talented young industry leaders and innovators in the world’s second largest economy.

For the first time, the list covers 30 notable people all under the age of 30 in 20 different fields, including top entrepreneurs, managers, and celebrities in showbiz, sports, technology, and culture.

The four inspiring ECNU honorees for the education category are Yang Boya, Zhang Chujun, Su Qi and Ren Lixin.

A student of the 2008 Class of the School of Psychology and Cognitive Science of ECNU, Yang now teaches psychology at the Affiliated Middle School of Kunming Normal College in Kunming, capital of Southwest China's Yunnan Province.

Zhang, who was enrolled in ECNU in 2008, is now in charge of a nationally popular studio handling psychological problems in adolescents set up in Guiyang, capital of Southwest China's Guizhou Province.

Su, who entered ECNU as a freshman in 2010, works as a psychology and math teacher at Yunnan Lianhua Primary School.

Ren is an associate professor of the Pre-school Education Department of the Faculty of Education of ECNU.

Yang became the first Chinese teacher nominated for the Global Teacher Prize. She also represented China in the 2017 Learners' Voice program at the World Innovation Summit for Education and was the only award-winner from China at the 2017 Global Social Venture Competition.

Yang Boya

In awe of hearing about her name on the list, she said: I'm so happy to find my name on a list of such highly respected people and to see that Forbes is paying attention to young teachers in China.

In recent years she has earned more acclaim - and 20 more awards - for her work in providing psychological services to people affected by the earthquake and stay-at-home children in China.

Also known as children left behind, stay-at-home children refers to the children who remain in rural regions of China while their parents leave to work in urban areas of the country - effectively leaving their children behind so that they can make a more reliable living to provide for them.

Many of these children face challenges, emotionally and developmentally, as a result of the limited interaction with their biological parents.

The Character Development Lab, which was jointly inaugurated by Yang, Zhang and Su, has attracted worldwide attention; it now consists of teachers from all over the world. The lab is committed to offering first-class education programs that coordinate with proper conditions for children in central and western China.

The 29-year-old Ren, an ECNU Zijjiang Young Scholar, obtained a master's degree and doctoral degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln before returning to China in 2016. She had previously engaged with intervention programs that prepare young children for kindergarten classes  by promoting cooperation between parents and their children, improve the parents' role in their child's education and an emphasis on kindergarten education evaluations and math teaching development programs.

Ren is currently leading a research project based on the relationship between emerging middle-class families and their children's daily activities in order to find out how Chinese parenting methods affects their children's growth.

Ren Lixin

Education is an industry that inspires innovation and vigor. That is why a lot of young people have chosen to start their own businesses in the field, said Yu Minhong, one of the three judges on the Forbes China panel and founder and president of New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc.

He stressed that the application of AI technologies in education must not be taken lightly because  it has the capacity to create an increasing number of jobs in the future, such as the breakthrough progresses that have been made by the use of AI in image and voice recognition, automatic translation, unmanned driving, and human-computer interaction. He is also optimistic about the prospect of quality-oriented education, which, thanks to the national education reform, has increased support from the Central Government.

More investment will pour into quality education in the future: sports, art, robotics, AI and programming industries will keep diversifying to meet demands of a rapidly technology-driven society.

He concluded that the education industry has the potential to bring about the unlimited imagination of creativity, possibilities and opportunities for young entrepreneurs in China and the rest of the world.

Russell Flannery, the senior editor of Forbes China, said China is in a golden age of entrepreneurship with the capabilities to embrace capital, innovation, and technology that the generations before them didn't have. Moreover, the Forbes list has put China's young population on the world center stage due to their influential work and contributions which have had a big impact on education in China.


Edited by Linlan Zhang    Proofread by Mayfield Joshua    Reviewed by Wenjun Guo

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华东师范大学
East China Normal University