Elon Musk is running a $15 million competition to help African children learn to read

XPRIZE / Screengrab

Elon Musk is funding a project to help children in Tanzania read and write.

He's putting forward $15 million for the project, called the Global Learning XPrize, which wants to revolutionise the teaching of reading, writing and arithmetic for the 260 million children on the planet who do not have access to primary or secondary education.

They are addressing that with 150 villages in Tanzania, where 8,000 children will be given Pixel C tablets by Google. The software, designed by a variety of teams for the XPrize competition, attempts to help children aged seven to ten learn without more formal education.

The competition has been whittled down to 11 teams so far, from 198 entrants in 2014.

In September, five finalists will be chosen from a shortlist of open source projects, and each finalist will be awarded $1 million.

They will then be tested in Tanzania.

Whichever team, over 18 months of testing, sees the most marked improvement in their children compared to the control group will win $10 million.

Xprize has selected children for testing that live very far from a school, making an education unattainable for them - and they will all be largely illiterate prior to testing.

HT IFL Science

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