Ready2Read Challenge Summary

Problem Statement:

Despite several decades of focusing on improving access to quality education for ALL children, learning outcomes remain disappointingly low. According to the World Bank, fewer than half of the world’s school-aged children are learning to read on grade level or gaining basic numeracy skills. Since more than 85 percent of a child’s brain is already developed by age 6, investing in high-quality pre-primary education may be an effective way of addressing the learning crisis. Early learning opportunities can have a significant impact on children’s school readiness, the foundational academic and non-academic skills essential for supporting grade-level learning. While the evidence on the importance of early learning opportunities is compelling, 175 million boys and girls globally are not enrolled in pre-primary education during these vital years of their lives. In low-income countries, nearly 8 in 10 children – 78 percent – are missing out on this opportunity.

For marginalized children, the learning crisis is even more severe. One-half of the pre-primary school-aged population live in conflict-affected states; however, humanitarian aid investments in pre-primary are meager. For the more than 93 million children with disabilities globally, learning outcomes are even lower, as they are less likely to go to school and have accessible learning resources. COVID-19 has further exacerbated the crisis and in 2020 millions more children worldwide missed out on early childhood education (ECE), as childcare and early education facilities were closed. Sustainable Development Goal 4.2 aims to ensure all girls and boys have access to quality ECE as a foundation for primary education. However, investment in pre-primary education is declining globally. Current ECE spending in low income countries provides only 11 percent of the resources needed.

Challenge Statement:

To address this problem, All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD) is launching the Ready2Read Challenge, with the belief that innovative evidence-based EdTech solutions (products and surrounding programs) have the potential to complement existing investments in pre-primary education or fill the gap where investment is limited. The Ready2Read Challenge seeks context-appropriate and effective EdTech solutions that build foundational language and literacy skills for marginalized children in eligible low resource contexts. Solvers may propose existing or adapted EdTech solutions and accompanying activities for children, their parents/caregivers/ECE facilitators to progressively build and measure foundational language and literacy skills for children ages 4-6. One or multiple awards of up to $350,000 are available for Submissions that meet the Solution Requirements, as determined by the expert judging panel. Additional incentive prizes may be available to awardees who demonstrate foundational skills growth within the 13-month award.

Important Notes:

1. READ CAREFULLY: Read all questions and complete all required fields. Submissions must be submitted on this platform. Incomplete submissions or applications submitted by email will not be reviewed.

2. SAVE OFTEN: As you complete this application, save your work in draft form often to minimize the possibility of losing your work due to electricity or network disruption.

3. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS: Please submit any questions related to the Ready2Read Challenge to before 2:00 pm ET on February 17, 2021. Responses will be provided on the Ready2Read Challenge page of the ACR GCD website.  All proposals must be submitted 2:00pm ET on Tuesday March 9, 2021.