Prior to the pandemic, one in six children globally were not in a formal school setting, with overrepresentation from girls and young people experiencing poverty, living in rural areas, conflict zones, or with disabilities. The pandemic has exacerbated existing inequities, as two-thirds of the young learning population—1.3 billion people—do not have reliable access to the internet in their homes, hindering their participation in distance learning. Faced with the increasing economic uncertainty within their families, millions of young people are being pushed into child labor instead of returning to school. Put together, these factors mean that far too few young people between the ages of 5 and 18 are afforded the space, time, or resources to build foundational and durable skills. Nor do they have the ability to explore their academic, extracurricular, and creative passions, or meaningfully engage with their peers and communities.
Technology-enabled innovations for teaching, learning, and assessment can help learners catch up on what they’ve been missing while building on individual strengths and gains. Student and teacher experiences vary widely in this pandemic schooling era, but across all demographics, the psycho-social wellbeing of young people has been severely impacted and educators are overwhelmed and overtaxed. In addition to mental health services, robust social-emotional learning will be key for learner re-engagement and helping students navigate their shifting academic, social, and familial landscapes.
The MIT Solve community is looking for eight technology-enabled solutions that help re-engage and meet the holistic needs of underserved learners between the ages of 5 and 18 so that they may thrive and succeed. To that end, Solve seeks solutions that:
- Enable and improve personalized learning and individualized instruction for learners who have experienced disruptions in schooling and missed foundational milestones.
- Facilitate meaningful social-emotional learning among underserved young people.
- Support timely and manageable assessments to help under-resourced communities better plan, monitor, and evaluate learning.
- Lift administrative burdens on educators and support professional development as they implement new approaches and navigate continued disruptions.
Special Call: Black & Brown Innovators in the US
Systemic racism and ongoing racial bias have severely limited access to good education for communities of color, resulting in marked disparities in learning outcomes. As part of Solve’s ongoing work on US racial equity, we will select 1-2 solutions from the US working to address these disparities for our Black & Brown Innovators Program.
MIT Solve – Solver Award
All solutions selected for Solve’s Global Challenges and the Indigenous Communities Fellowship will receive a $10,000 grant funded by Solve.
The GSR Prize
GSR will award a prize to solutions that use innovative technology and, in particular, blockchain solutions to address pressing issues in their communities and the world. As a leading cryptocurrency trading firm, GSR seeks to advance education, promote equality of opportunity, and contribute to a sustainable world, emphasizing blockchain and innovative technology-powered solutions. Up to $200,000 will be awarded across solutions from the 2022 Global Challenges.
The Living Proof Prize: Women’s Leadership Solutions
The Living Proof Prize is open to women-led teams that are using innovative approaches to solve challenges across economic prosperity, health, learning, and sustainability. The prize is funded by Living Proof, a haircare company at the crossroads of innovation and real-world results that is committed to social impact. Up to $100,000 will be granted across up to four teams from the 2022 Global Challenges.
The GM Prize
The GM Prize is open to solutions that help create smart, safe, and sustainable communities around the world. The Prize is funded by General Motors, which is working toward becoming the most inclusive company in the world and is dedicated to making STEM education more accessible and equitable. Up to $150,000 will be granted to up to six recipients from the Re-engaging Learners and Climate: Ecosystems + Housing Challenges, and the 2022 Indigenous Communities Fellowship.
The Innovation for Women Prize
The Innovation for Women Prize awards solutions that use innovative technology to empower and enrich the lives of women and girls. This prize of $75,000 is awarded to up to three Solvers to support advocacy and gender work for women in and through technology in order to elevate women’s voices and create positive and sustainable change within their communities around the world.
The Andan Prize
The Andan Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion is open to solutions that advance the economic, financial, and political inclusion of refugees. The prize is funded by Andan Foundation, a Swiss non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting solutions that promote refugee resilience, self-reliance and integration. Up to $100,000 will be granted across up to four teams from the 2022 Global Challenges.