UK team wins in a tie for $15m Global Learning XPrize
15 May 2019, 9pm PT (Pacific Time)
Today, UK non-profit organisation onebillion and team Kitkit School were jointly announced as the grand prize winners of $10 million purse in the Global Learning XPRIZE. The competition challenged teams from around the world to develop software for children to teach themselves reading, writing and arithmetic.
The competition involved an unprecedented field trial in Tanzania that was carried out by the Tanzanian Government, UNESCO and the World Food Programme. Thousands of children with little to no formal education were given tablets to test the five finalist software solutions over a period of 15 months, with assessments conducted by independent researchers before and after the trial.
The UK non-profit’s software onecourse, which was developed by onebillion in collaboration with a number of local and international experts, delivered significant improvements in both literacy and numeracy.
onecourse is already being used by school children in Malawi through the Unlocking Talent initiative run by international development agency VSO. The app teaches children to read, write and become numerate, and helps teachers ensure children are learning despite the very large classes found across the developing world.
Philip Goodwin, CEO of VSO said:
"What these results show is that onecourse is a real solution. A solution to the stubborn challenge of illiteracy and innumeracy that undermines the potential of more than 350 million children worldwide. Through our Unlocking Talent project in Malawi, we’ve seen first-hand how the combination of VSO’s skilled education volunteers and project management together with onebillion’s innovative technology can secure great outcomes for children. We are excited to be continuing to work with onebillion to see how this very exciting software can be used throughout Malawi and beyond."
onebillion is now working with the XPRIZE Foundation, the UK’s Department for International Development, local governments and other international partners to localise the software into the world’s languages and provide children, who are currently missing out on education, with a viable solution to becoming literate and numerate.
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"What these results show is that onecourse is a real solution. A solution to the stubborn challenge of illiteracy and innumeracy that undermines the potential of more than 350 million children worldwide. Through our Unlocking Talent project in Malawi, we’ve seen first-hand how the combination of VSO’s skilled education volunteers and project management together with onebillion’s innovative technology can secure great outcomes for children. We are excited to be continuing to work with onebillion to see how this very exciting software can be used throughout Malawi and beyond." - Philip Goodwin, CEO of VSO.
"Business as usual is no longer acceptable. With winning the Global Learning XPRIZE, we are at the starting line, not the finish. For children in Tanzania, for children across Africa, for children all over the world, and for us." - Andrew Ashe, CEO onebillion.
"The goal is to give all children the education that is their human right. We have the software to make it happen. We have the hardware to make it happen. We have the implementation models to make it happen. Now we need to use them." - Jamie Stuart, CTO onebillion.
"I am thrilled with the result of the Global Learning XPRIZE as it acknowledges all the tremendous work that onebillion, VSO, and our other partners are doing to give children worldwide a chance to learn, through evidence-based practice. Millions of children worldwide are deprived of the opportunity to learn to read, write and be numerate and this impacts on their ability to stay in education, gain meaningful employment, and contribute actively to society. This prize will address the Global Learning crisis by offering a scalable and sustainable innovative solution which has been shown, scientifically, to be highly effective. The hard work now begins in scaling this technology to enable every child, wherever they are, the chance to reach their full potential." – Professor Nicola Pitchford, The University of Nottingham.
Notes for editors:
Global Learning XPRIZE
The $15 million Global Learning XPRIZE challenged teams from around the world to develop open-source, scalable software that will enable children in developing countries to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic within 15 months.
Onebillion is a non-profit organisation based in London. Their international team of experts have built onecourse - a comprehensive, scalable educational software for children in and out of school. Together with partner organisations around the world, onebillion work to bring onecourse directly into the hands of the child. By encouraging independent researchers to evaluate the software, onebillion ensures that it meets the needs of the child.
VSO is the world’s leading independent international development organisation that works through volunteers to tackle poverty in developing countries. Since 1958, VSO has been bringing people together to share skills, build capabilities, promote international understanding and ultimately changes lives to make the world a fairer place.
For more information please contact:
Amina Abdirashid – VSO
For Africa press
Charlie Ensor – VSO
For UK press