Education & Literacy


Access to quality education and literacy improves quality of life and creates more resilient communities. Approximately 57 million primary school-age children do not attend school. Over four out of five of these children live in rural areas. The cost of higher education is rapidly increasing with the price tag of a college degree in the US being 13 times higher than it was 40 years ago. There is a large and growing shortage of teachers. About 10% of the global population experience undernourishment which, for students decreases academic skill development in math, science and language, and increases the risk of a student dropping out. About half of the school buildings in the US are in disrepair and unfit for students, staff and teachers. Solutions must address these and more underlying factors in order to work effectively towards universal access to education and literacy.

The Challenge

The challenge for this track is to create innovative solutions that address the underlying barriers to quality education and literacy. Proposals may focus on the design, development or delivery of education and literacy solutions that can be domestic or international in scope. All proposals should clearly demonstrate the relationship between the proposed intervention and its impact on education and literacy.

Past Winners and Examples

Solutions may focus on several areas, including but not limited to:

  • Teacher training programs;
  • Increasing access to higher education for low-income and marginalized individuals;
  • Women’s academic empowerment programs;
  • School building and improvement of water and electricity access in schools;
  • Strategies, policies and technologies to promote education and literacy.
Dost Education, 2017
Polygon Illustration
Polygon, 2019
LiftEd, 2016
EdVisorly, 2020
Mindset and Milestones, 2020


Team Members:

Jack Rolo, Joshua Curry, Meryll Dindin, Jolie Lam


UC Berkeley

1 in 5 people has a learning difference, such as dyslexia or ADHD. This represents 70 million people in the US, each struggling with their own learning journey.
Polygon is on a mission to give every person with a learning difference the full range of tools they need to thrive — from diagnosis to support. We believe that by helping people discover their differences, they can harness their strengths.


Team Members:

Andrew Hill


UC Berkeley

LiftEd is an iPad application that enables special education professionals to measure students’ academic & behavioral performance on individualized learning goals, analyze learning trends to modify instruction and intervention methods real-time, and ultimately share student progress with districts & parents on-demand. It resembles an EHR and acts as a centralized repository for a student’s case team to track progress, collaborate, and maintain a transferrable record longitudinally. LiftEd aims to strategically focus on schools to provide aggregate data for administrators that can aid in compliance with federal funding mandates. In addition to significantly saving educators time and providing the ability to work remotely, LiftEd also increases the transparency of student data for parents in order to mitigate risk of lawsuits. It also enables a real-time analysis of progress and modification to classroom activities in order to accelerate student learning. All of these features are accessible from a tablet. The flexible data collection methods and intuitive applied behavior analysis caters to all educators, not just advanced professionals in clinical settings.