Dar es Salaam — Tanzanian startups--Ubongo and Mtabe-- have made it to the list of 30 finalists for the Next Billion EdTech prize, which recognises the most innovative use of technology, which has the potential to radically impact education in low income and emerging economies.
Ubongo and Mtabe founders will now travel to the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai where they will compete in a pitch competition.
The 30 finalists will compete in a three-day pitch contest, which will take place at the Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) from on March 22.
In a statement, chief executive officer of Tmrw Digital, which runs the Next Billion Prize, Vikas Pota, said the forum will bring together over 1,500 delegates from around the world to solve the most pressing issues in global education, culminating in the award of the Next Billion Edtech Prize and the $1 million Global Teacher Prize.
"Congratulations to Ubongo and Mtabe for making it into the final 30 list of start-ups to compete in the Next Billion Prize 2019," he said. He said, while at the forum, the finalists will also have an opportunity to meet the most important players from the spheres of both education and technology, from venture capitalists to education ministers, foundations, academics and some of the world's best teachers.
He noted that they will also be able to draw on their expertise and support to build products that will work well in the classroom as they do at pitch competitions.
"The Next Billion Prize was established to shine a light on those gifted entrepreneurs that are not only ingenious, but also bold and persistent enough to bring forward the revolutionary ideas that are desperately needed to transform education in those parts of the world where there is limited access to high quality teaching," he said.
He added: "Our fervent hope is that the prize inspires this new breed of entrepreneurs across the world to come forward with fresh ideas that will help give every child their birthright--access to a great education."
Ubongo leverages the power of entertainment, the reach of mass media, and the connectivity of mobile devices to deliver effective, localised learning to African families at low cost.
Its family-friendly content promotes literacy and education in resource-poor areas.
Through learning at home and in the family through a variety of channels, from online to radio and TV - multi-channel players, cartoons are a central part of its story telling approach.
On the other hand, Mtabe is an AI-powered platform providing personalised instant learning content and answers from a virtual tutor via SMS, using artificial intelligence to deliver this to students without internet access.