There are currently 250 million children around the world who do not have access to primary or secondary education. Without suitable schooling, these children will never learn how to read or write properly. In order to combat this global issue, Elon Musk is funding a $15 million project with the XPrize Foundation in order to change the way education in Tanzania works.
The project is being carried out in the form of a competition called Global Learning XPrize, which began in September 2014. After months of hard work, 200 teams submitted their ideas for judging and 11 semi-finalists were chosen to move forward. The winning tablet is meant to show that children have the ability to teach themselves how to read and write.
While there were hundreds selected for the first round, only a small group of teams were chosen to continue to the semi-finals. These teams hail from all over the world, coming from countries such as India, China, Norway, Canada and South Africa. From Ottawa, Canada, Learn Leap Fly is using social software and story-based learning to teach reading, writing and arithmetic. Chimple, from Bangalore, uses 60 different explorative games and 70 different stories on their devices to teach their students.
Next month, XPrize will announce the five finalists, who will each receive $1 million so that they can take their technology to Tanzania and test its effectiveness over an 18-month period. During this time, children will work with the tablets and will be given several pre-and post-use tests to determine how working with the technology benefits them. After the winning tablet has been chosen, the team will be awarded $10 million to produce the product that will be distributed to children in 150 villages in Tanzania. Through this competition, both Elon Musk and XPrize hope to improve literacy and education in Tanzania as a whole.
– Olivia Hayes