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Bengaluru-based edtech startup Chimple has won $1 Mn funding from Global Learning XPRIZE. The foundation is looking to create scalable solutions to enable children to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic within 15 months.

Chimple is developing a learning platform to enable children to learn reading, writing and mathematics on a tablet. It does so through more than 60 explorative games and 70 different stories.

The Chimple team comprises a group of experts in game development, data science and animation. The team has developed an engaging way to impart literacy. Chimple is building various platforms for teachers, artists, storytellers, scientists to contribute and collaborate on learning solutions to develop a crowd-sourced literacy solution.

“Universal access to education is a major priority for XPRIZE, and we are proud to celebrate the change-making teams making impressive strides to ensure every single child has the opportunity to take learning into her own hands,” said Marcus Shingles, CEO of XPRIZE Foundation. “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.”

This time around the foundation has announced five finalists advancing in the $15 Mn Global Learning XPRIZE. They were awarded $1 Mn milestone prize each for the open source, cutting-edge learning software they developed for the competition.

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Apart from the Bengaluru-based Chimple the other four startups that were chosen from a field of 198 teams by an independent judging panel of 11 experts, include –

  • CCI – US-based CCI is developing structured and sequential instructional programs, in addition to a platform seeking to enable non-coders to develop engaging learning content in any language or subject area.
  • Kitkit School – US-based Kitkit School is developing a learning programme with a game-based core and flexible learning architecture. The learning programme is aimed at helping children independently learn, irrespective of their knowledge, skill, and environment.
  • onebillion UK-based onebillion is merging numeracy content with new literacy material to offer directed learning and creative activities alongside continuous monitoring to respond to different children’s needs. It has been working on transforming the education of marginalised children for the past 14 years, in countries like India, Uganda, Malawi, etc.
  • RoboTutor US-based RoboTutor is leveraging Carnegie Mellon’s research in reading and math tutors, speech recognition and synthesis, machine learning, educational data mining, cognitive psychology, and human-computer interaction.

“Our five finalists are developing the most promising software solutions to enable children to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic, as determined by our panel of expert judges,” said Matt Keller, senior director of the Global Learning XPRIZE. He further added, “As we move to the final field testing phase, we are one step closer to scaling transformative technology solutions that foster child-driven learning and provide a world-class education for all.”

Post this stage the five finalist teams will begin field testing their education technology solutions this November in Tanzania.

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XPRIZE has partnered with the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Government of Tanzania for the test phase of finalists.

At the end of the field testing phase, the team whose solution emerges successful in providing proficiency in reading, writing and arithmetic will receive the final prize of $10 Mn. Each of the five finalists will be required to open source both their code and their content which will be free and available for anyone to build on. The winner will be announced in April 2019.

XPRIZE – The Innovation Engine

XPRIZE is a facilitator of exponential change and a catalyst for the benefit of humanity. It is a nonprofit organisation looking to design and implement innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. XPRIZE utilises a combination of gamification, crowd-sourcing, incentive prize theory, and exponential technologies to create an impact on the challenges facing the world.

Active competitions under XPRIZE umbrella include the $30 Mn Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $20 Mn NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15 Mn Global Learning XPRIZE, the $7 Mn Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, the $7 Mn Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE, the $5 Mn IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, the $1.75 Mn Water Abundance and the $1 Mn Anu and Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE. In March 2015 another Indian startup TeamIndus managed to bag $1 Mn and a spot in the finalists of the $30 Mn Google Lunar XPRIZE. It is a competition to challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration.

UNESCO estimates that the world will need 1.6 Mn more teachers globally, a number set to double by 2030. Currently, about 250 Mn children in the world do not possess the ability to read and write. Through Global Learning XPRIZE the foundation in cooperation with the UNESCO is looking to provide solutions for the educational gap. By taking up a spot as a finalist in the Global Learning XPRIZE, Bengaluru based edtech startup Chimple has once again showcased the innovative ideas in the Indian startup ecosystem on a global platform.

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