121 million children worldwide do not receive education. Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names. More than 72 million children of primary education age are not in school and 759 million adults are illiterate. War, poverty are the leading causes of the above horrible statistics. Simple technologies have tremendous potential to improve the lives of people in remote areas, refugee camps and developing communities, most especially children.
Richard thanks for your good observation. Education curriculum at primary and secondary level is universal, whether you are holed up in a refugee camp or in Sydney. If the subject material is Algebra or Grammar there is no deviation. Our platform is not designed to cater for a select group of users. We believe anyone studying Maths, Science and English at primary level more or less is supposed to learn the fundamentals. We provide a test preparation service that aims to help kids achieve higher test scores through practice. A refugee camp with internet access, smart phones, tablets or computers can access our platform. We have designed it to cater for low bandwidth usage. Higher test scores is not our only objective; we have interactive questions that make learning fun and creative which we hope can affect learning outcomes, increase interest and increase the opportunities for young learners as a result of achieving good grades. Our platform has been designed to conform to W3C and section 508 standards for accessibility to cater for users with visual or hearing disabilities. I could be wrong but I don't think refugees don't need any special curriculum in the classroom, they definitely need counselling and treatment for post traumatic stress disorder, but that is out of our realm and it's better served by social workers.
Hi Chioma, Thanks for your comment. We have tested the prototype with a few Ugandan schools. We are past the prototyping stage, and we are close to launching a fully fledged application. We made a strategic decision to focus on four main subjects i.e. English, Math, Science and SST (Social Studies) which is History and Geography. SST is country specific however the other three subjects are universal. English, Math and Science are universal subjects worldwide. The only variance lies in the nomenclature, for example in the United States of America, they have k-12, in most of sub Saharan Africa and Asia which will be our primary target, they have Primary 1 -6, some countries have Primary 1 -7, and Kenya has standard 1 - 8. In order to cater for the differences in each country we shall have country specific domain names which will have content standardized to the unique needs of the country. The lessons learned from prototyping the application are several, I will highlight the most challenging aspect we have faced. Our model relies on automatic grading upon completion of a test. This is easy to implement when you have one correct answer, e.g. a punctuation question, or a mathematical question such as 4 x 4 = 16. However if you have the same question as 4 meters x 4 meters and the correct answer is 16 meters squared. That means the student needs, to input the special characters for meters squared. The other challenge is where you can have more than 1 correct answer, which is prevalent in unstructured questions. This a limitation that our platform has and it' s a limitation in artificial intelligence. That's why you can use google translate but some of the results of the translation are not useful, or don't make sense.