XPRIZE, a nonprofit that holds global competitions for people and organizations to build products that advance humankind, announced a new competition focused on basic education.
Similar to the Orteig Prize from the 1920s, offering $25,000 to the first aviator to reach Paris from New York on a non-stop flight, or vice-versa, the XPRIZE takes on a similar belief in competition to fuel advancements in technologies. Creating a competition around an issue drives public interest and investments in new technology.
Their initial competition was an air race of sorts, the Ansari XPRIZE, which was intended for research and development in technology for space exploration. The prize was for the first non-government organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft multiple times within a certain period of time. It was awarded in 2004, and we can see many ventures into space exploration from private entities today as a result of that competition.
At the Social Good Summit, Peter Diamandis announced their newest competition to empower children to take control of their own learning. The $15 million Global Learning XPRIZE is a competition that challenges teams from around the world to develop open source scalable software solution that will enable children in developing countries to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic. There are an estimated 250 million children worldwide who lack basic literacy, which inhibits their ability to lift themselves from poverty.
Many kids simply don't have access to schools or teachers. The traditional model of education simply isn't making the impact we need, so XPRIZE created this competition to develop a new way of learning so that education is accessible in the far corners of the earth, for every child.
XPRIZE is holding a crowdfunding campaign to raise $500,000 by November 6, 2014. The funds that are raised will be used to test the software developments in more areas to have better quality feedback, to create an powerful collaborative environment so teams are successful as possible, to building and growing a global community, and finally towards building and supporting a bedrock of open-education technology.
Diamandis nailed it before walking off the stage today, saying, "The technology exist. The drive and passion exist. Let's just go make it happen!"