Can Software Solve the Global Education Crisis? Check Out the $15 Million XPRIZE

An estimated 250 million children around the world cannot read or write, most of whom are in developing countries without regular access to schools or teachers. Traditional models of learning are not scalable. We simply cannot build enough schools or train enough teachers. We are at a pivotal moment where an alternative, radical approach is necessary.

Founded by Dr. Peter Diamandis, The $15 million Global Learning XPRIZE is a new competition that is challenging teams from around the world to develop open source and scalable software that will enable children in developing countries to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic.

The challenge was specifically developed to prove that technology can empower children to autonomously learn basic reading, writing and arithmetic.  Once proven, this open source solution could be iterated upon, scaled and deployed around the world, bringing quality learning experiences to children who do not have access to formal education, and supplementing the learning experiences of children who do.

If you are interested in entering this competition, or simply learning about how others are helping solve this global problem, check out the following details.

Competition Details:

  • The $15 million Global Learning XPRIZE launched September 2014.
  • XPRIZE is actively looking for teams of software and game developers, neuroscientists, educators, linguist and engineers to register by April 30, 2015
  • Simply visit the website to complete an intent to compete form
  • Registered teams will then have 18 months to develop their solutions

The top five teams selected will receive $1 million, advance to the next phase and their solutions will be tested in the field. Each of the five teams’ solutions will be tested across a minimum of 100-150 villages in a developing nation, reaching at least 3,000 children (ages 7-10) over an 18-month period.

At the end of the 18 months, the team whose solution enables the greatest proficiency gains in reading, writing and arithmetic will receive the Grand Prize of $10 million. All of the top 5 finalist solutions, including the winner’s, will be open-sourced to the world.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.