Investing in Education
Despite being involved with a number of companies intent on making the future happen (or perhaps because of it) Elon Musk has always been interested with education. His efforts include a competition that helps students and startups develop working models for the futuristic hyperloop. More recently, Musk has donated $15 million to an XPRIZE program called Global Learning.
The XPRIZE Foundation is a non-profit organization that designs and promotes public competitions that seek to bring about technological developments beneficial to humanity. One of their programs is the Global Learning XPRIZE, the goal of which is to “empower children to take control of their learning.” More specifically, the program “challenges teams from around the world to develop open source and scalable software” to help children in developing countries teach themselves basic literacy and arithmetic skills within 15 months.
On Monday, five finalists were chosen to advance in the contest, each receiving a $1-million milestone prize. The team’s education technology solutions will be put to a field test in Tanzania this November, in partnership with UNESCO and the World Food Program (WFP).
Investing in the Future
The five finalists, which include CCI from New York, Chimple from India, Berkeley-based Kitkit School, a program called onebillion, and RoboTutor from Pittsburgh, will have to demonstrate proficiency gains in about 4,000 children in 150 Tanzanian villages after 15 months. The one that achieves this — to be announced on April 2019 — will receive the $10 million grand prize.
According to UNESCO, some 250 million children around the world lack basic arithmetic skills and 1.6 million teachers are needed to fill the gap. “The leading solutions born from this competition could provide the key to unlocking literacy for children most in need, giving them access to an education they otherwise wouldn’t have,” XPRIZE Foundation CEO Marcus Shingles told Forbes. As for Musk investing in Global Learning XPRIZE, it shouldn’t really be surprising. Investing in education, after all, is one of the surest routes to a better future.