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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pearson’s Project Literacy Lab - First Accelerator for Entrepreneurs Focused on Closing the Global Literacy Gap


Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, has partnered the Unreasonable Group to launch “Project Literacy Lab,” the world’s first accelerator for entrepreneurs dedicated to closing the global literacy gap by 2030. As a part of the inaugural program, Project Literacy Lab has identified 16 high-growth ventures, headquartered across five continents, which are working collaboratively on scaling their technologies and products to combat illiteracy worldwide.

After a rigorous evaluation of India-based learning models, two innovative Edupreneurs have been selected among the 16 promising ventures worldwide under the ‘Project Literacy Lab’ program – Bangalore-based ‘Guru-G’, the fastest growing mobile app for Indian teachers that’s already led to 86% improvement in student outcomes and Chennai-based ‘Karadi Path’, the language-learning curriculum reaching over 1,500 schools and 500,000 children across India. Pearson and Unreasonable Group will support these entrepreneurs by providing them world-class mentors, access to financing, and a global network of support.

“1.19 trillion US dollars is the cost of illiteracy to the world economy each year.” explains Jennifer Young, Director of Social Impact Programs at Pearson. Young explains that in fact, “Illiteracy is linked to just about every major sustainable development challenge. That is why Pearson, as the founder and convener of Project Literacy, is excited about our partnership with Unreasonable, a group that has a track record of helping entrepreneurs solve pressing global challenges.”

Some other global participating ventures include the world’s first customizable machine learning technology platform for one billion people around the world with disabilities (Livox, Brazil) and a company that decreases recidivism by providing the 2.25 million incarcerated adults in the United States with daily access to educational and vocational programming via tablets (Edovo, USA).

During the recently organized program, the entrepreneurs met up with 20 mentors and specialists including Emilie Colker, Vice President, Global Brand & Social Impact Strategy and Campaigns at Pearson, who is steering the Project Literacy initiative.  She further elaborates, “Today, there is a need to provide an impetus to entrepreneurs that are introducing innovative technologies & solutions to complex social issues.”

Guru-G Learning Labs is a teaching innovations company that is transforming the teaching-learning process globally through the world's first gamified platform for teaching & teacher training. Guru-G improves student outcomes by increasing teacher motivation and skills through an engaging mobile application that continuously mentors the teachers on the best ways to use new teaching methods & innovative practices in their classrooms such as guided lesson plans, 21st century practices and adaptation to different student moods etc. The platform works offline as well as in local languages.  Guru-G reaches to 350+ rural schools.

Karadi Path addresses the huge need to improve language learning across India, which is often the key to student progress, whether in higher education or the workplace. To accelerate learning, Karadi Path provides schools with a proprietary curriculum that includes multi-media materials and training designed to accelerate the acquisition of language skills. They use a highly impactful approach that mimics the processes of mother-tongue learning to help students learn English through actions, music and stories in an immersive environment. Founded in 2011, Karadi Path now operates in over 1,200 schools, both private and government-run, across 8 states, reaching over 200,000 students this school year. They have also trained over 6,000 teachers till date.

Adds Asheesh Sabarwal, Vice President - Marketing, Pearson India, “Enabling access to quality education is one of the key efforts that Pearson is driving globally and I am confident that firms like Guru-G and Karadi Path, with their innovative learning models, will contribute towards this shared vision.”

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