Children learning using tablets

XPRIZE awards $15M for open source, scalable education software

Image of Admas Kanyagia

Open source software can be a powerful tool to help solve the social problems we see in the world around us—from climate change to poverty, and even the lack of education for those who need it. Nonprofits, governments, citizens, and developers leverage open source tools and projects on GitHub to address important issues in their communities. We get excited when developers can share and collaborate on open source solutions like XPRIZE that have a positive impact in society.

The XPRIZE Foundation creates competitions to crowdsource solutions to worldwide challenges like literacy, pollution, and more. XPRIZE recently announced the winner of their $15 million Global Learning XPRIZE after wrapping up a challenge to help children with self-education.

The challenge

The Global Learning XPRIZE challenged teams from around the world to develop open source, scalable software to help children learn basic reading, writing, and arithmetic within 15 months. The challenge began with 198 teams and was narrowed down to five finalists. Each team was instructed to use software and technology to help children with little to no schooling. Among the many guidelines, teams were required to create tools that are easy to use and engaging for children, so they could use them alone or in self-organized groups.

Global Learning XPRIZE partnered with the World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the Government of Tanzania to test the software solutions over 15 months. Roughly 2,700 children in 170 villages in the Tanga region of Tanzania participated.

The results

We’re pleased to announce that we have two winners—it’s a tie between Kitkit and onebillion! All five finalists were successful in providing significant improvements in reading, writing, and arithmetic through their software. This makes it even more impactful that each team has provided their code as open source for you to access and modify.

We want to congratulate all the participants who have worked towards creating social change—proving that change can start with a single line of code.

Curious to see their work? Check out the source code from each of the five finalists:

Show your support

The teams delivered, but they still need help with localizing the software into different languages and cultural contexts as well as sourcing and loading the software on hardware. Reach out to a team’s repository to learn about the ways you can get involved.

You can also support open source solutions for education by signing the Impact Pledge. Help us and the XPRIZE Foundation address the educational challenges that face many children around the world with open source technology.

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