On Friday, 4 May, Greg Hands visited two local businesses, uTalk and OneBillion.
uTalk was set up by two British entrepreneurs, Dick Howeson and Andrew Ashe, with a mission to make language learning fun and simple. uTalk’s new language learning program works on all platforms all over the world. Their method uses verbal, visual, and fun exercises to teach languages, and it stimulates both sides of the brain – the visual memory (right side) and the verbal (left side) – at the same time. uTalk encourages learning the world over through their classroom teaching tool, chatterbox, and the UK’s only Junior Language Challenge as well as supporting the charity onebllion.
Andrew Ashe moved on to establish onebillion, a non-profit organisation, which develops educational apps with the bold vision of enabling one billion children to become numerate and confident readers in their own language. onebillion is among the five finalists – from an original 198 teams – in Elon Musk’s XPrize competition, with its prize of $15million. The XPrize competition is designed to challenge teams from around the world to develop software solutions that will teach children reading, writing, and arithmetic.
198 teams began in 2014, and now only five remain. onebillion are progressing to the testing phase, taking place in Tanzania. Finalists’ learning solutions will be given to 6,000 children in field-trials monitored by UNESCO and the UN World Food Programme. The winning team’s prize money can be used to scale and employ their technology across the globe.
onebillion’s submission to the Global Learning XPRIZE is “onecourse” Swahili and English, a full course for children to learn reading and numeracy, in their own language, with little or no adult support.
Commenting on the visit, local Member of Parliament, Greg Hands, said: “It was great to visit uTalk again after several years and to see them going from strength to strength, with a wealth of native language speakers from across the globe working in their office on the New Kings Road.
“It was also a pleasure to receive an update on the great work being done by onebillion in their plan to teach one billion children across the world to become numerate and literate in their native language. I introduced them to the Government’s Department for International Development a few years back, and I look forward to helping them in their endeavours.”