HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Let us tell you a little story. A few years ago, Peng T. Ong was invited to give a speech at the Africa Innovation Summit in Cape Verde. He asked a provocative question: what would happen if we could bypass the industrialization stage of economic development, and jump straight to the knowledge-based economy? It prompted vigorous discussions, but soon, a light bulb went on: we cannot have a knowledge-based economy without knowledge workers! We shifted gears and spent the next couple days discussing the state of global education.
After talking, we listed out some of the issues (there are many!):
- Today, hundreds of millions of young people face barriers to education linked to poverty, diversity politics, gender, disability, armed conflict, and displacement.
- Inadequate access to quality education keeps inequality alive by preventing disadvantaged youth from attaining the skills to take their economic situation into their own hands.
- By 2020, 70% of the world will have a basic smartphone and intermittent internet connectivity. The education technology industry sees this opportunity and has responded with lots of new software. However, there’s a problem: the families who can pay for this technology are not the ones who need it most! Even worse, a lot of existing technology is built for users who are already motivated by their communities to learn. When we look at children who already don’t have hope for the future, that approach is not going to work.
We left the Innovation Summit inspired and motivated. These were big challenges, but someone had to take them on. And at the end of 2015, Solve Education! was born.
Since day one, our vision has been the same: a world where all students can access education and gain confidence in their ability to learn. Our goal is to bring free, engaging educational software to the low-end phones and intermittent internet connectivity that will soon cover the globe. But there’s more…
To actually make our learning technology work, we have to make it appealing and useful for students of all socio-economic backgrounds. So, we have talked to the world’s most successful game developers to get their best practices and inspiration. The result? A game that is so engaging students become addicted to playing—and to learning. We even build in real-life incentives by directly linking success in the game to opportunities on our online employment platform.
The design of our game encourages students to be independent, analytical problem-solvers, so they have the skills required for a world that’s changing faster than we ever thought possible! Following learning journeys personalized and guided by Artificial Intelligence, our educational game app will empower students with skills and confidence to face the challenges of a changing world, and transform their own lives. And to think it all started with a conversation at a conference!
*Solve Education! is part of the prestigious AVPN (Asian Venture Philanthropy Network), INETA (Indonesia Education Technology Association), Fast Forward, and Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE).