$15 Million Global Learning XPRIZE Launched

The XPRIZE Foundation has announced the launch of a $15 million Global Learning XPRIZE, a five-year competition to develop tablet solutions that enable children in developing countries to teach themselves the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Funded by a group of foundations and donors that includes Scott Hassan, John Raymonds, Suzanne West, and the Dick & Betsy DeVos, Anthony Robbins, Econet, and Merkin Family foundations, the Global Learning XPRIZE aims to encourage teams of educators and technologists to develop scalable, open-source software for children who do not have regular access to quality schools or teachers. As many as 250 million children in developing countries lack basic literacy skills.

Following a six-month registration period, teams will have eighteen months to develop their solutions, after which a panel of experts will evaluate and select five teams to receive $1 million each to further develop their projects. Starting in the summer of 2017, the selected solutions will be field-tested in at least a hundred villages where English is the primary language of instruction. The solution that demonstrates the best results in terms of proficiency gains in reading, writing, and arithmetic will be awarded the $10 million top prize. XPRIZE also will launch an online crowdfunding campaign to raise $500,000 to help teams raise money to compete for the prize.

"[W]e are thrilled to launch our next world-changing competition to revolutionize global literacy," said XPRIZE chairman and CEO Peter H. Diamandis. "We will never build enough schools or train enough teachers to meet demand, which brings us to a pivotal moment where an alternative, radical approach is needed. This open-source solution can be iterated upon, scaled, and deployed around the world, bringing quality learning experiences to children no matter where they live."