Toronto, ON-based digital transformation company Convergence is launching the Digital Inclusion Challenge – ‘Embracing digital education for all’- and inviting high school, college and university students from around the world to participate. 

The challenge follows in the spirit of a Hackathon and runs from Oct. 23 to Nov. 1. 

The student groups participating in this free, virtual event will be challenged to deal with issues related to UN SDG Goal 4 – Quality Education. The challenge is open to teams of 2-6 students who must submit a registration application. Teams will then have ten days to develop their solutions. Registration closes at 5 p.m. EST on Oct. 9.

“We do not specifically designate a certain issue that the teams must solve, rather we leave it open-ended to inspire different ideas and voices from across the world,” Convergence says on its website. 

The Digital Inclusion Challenge 2020 is using COVID-19 as a catalyst for change and creating new technology solutions for the education sector which will address mental health, digital wellness, equity, and diversity issues, according to organizers. 

“As with our previous community engagements, we hope to present these solutions to governments, policymakers and the education sector globally to explore new and innovative ideas to enable education access for all,” Chami Akmeemana, chief executive officer at Convergence, told IT World Canada, in an email. 

The details about the proposed solutions will be reviewed by the company and the groups creating the best proposals will then be invited to pitch their solution to a panel of specialist judges and CAD $22,000 in prizes will be rewarded to the winning teams. “Our board and committee is made up of representation from Canada, USA, Brazil, Panama, the UK, USA, Ireland, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, UAE, Philippines, Jordan, Sri Lanka, Australia & Singapore,” said Akmeemana. The final presentations will be hosted on Nov. 7.

Convergence has sponsorships from two major Canadian banks, TD Bank and CIBC, who will sponsor 2nd and 3rd place prizes of CAD $7,500 and CAD $5,000, respectively. 

The education team at Convergence says it is encouraging teams from a broad range of backgrounds globally to participate, especially those groups currently under-represented, so as to be able to capture a diversity of perspectives in the solutions that emerge, says the company. 

Before the start of the challenge, there will be a series of presentations led by industry experts in their respective fields. These presentations will discuss some of the opportunities and challenges faced by the education sector and others around the world. Convergence says the presentations are intended to provide background knowledge for participants, as well as stimulate ideas and discussions for them during the challenge.

Non-participants are also able to join these presentations – more details available. The presentations are scheduled to be hosted on Oct. 21 and 22.


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