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Global Learning XPRIZE To Spend $15 Million On Child Literacy Project

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Some of the world's greatest minds are teaming up to change education around the planet. Right now, roughly 260 million children don't have access to primary or secondary education. That's where the Global Learning XPRIZE comes in. It's a challenge to create software that helps children teach themselves, no matter where they live.

A Prize for Audacity and Achievement

The Global Learning competition is a smaller part of the larger XPRIZE competition. Founded in 1995, XPRIZE was inspired by the 1919 Orteig Prize. That offered $25,000 to the first entrant who could make a non-stop flight between Paris and New York. It wasn't until 1927 that aviator Charles Lindbergh won the prize.

Today, the people at XPRIZE describe the competition as as "pushing the limits of what's possible to change the world for the better. It captures the world's imagination and inspires others to reach for similar goals, spurring innovation and accelerating the rate of positive change."

To be considered, your project must be "audacious, but achievable" by a small team in a reasonable timeframe, it must target a market failure (people aren't already willing to invest in it), and it must be something that can be easily conveyed and leveraged to maximize impact and sponsorship potential.

Changing Lives Early

Past XPRIZE competitions have focused on space exploration, off-grid energy solutions, and helping people suffering from currently incurable diseases.

In 2017, the project challenged contestants to develop open source, scalable software focused on basic reading, writing, and mathematics to help children in developing countries to take control of their own learning.

XPRIZE recently announced 11 semi-finalists from a group of 198 international entrants. After completing the next phase of the competition, five finalists will be awarded $1 million each to test their software in Tanzania. The Global Learning XPRIZE will give 8,000 children living in 150 villages across Tanzania a Pixel C tablet from Google. It will feature the contest winners' software.

The Grand Prize winner will receive $10 million to scale their software so it can be adapted for children in communities across the world, improving their opportunities for education and employment.

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