UBC student wins The Economist’s 21st Century Cyber-Schools Challenge

British journal The Economist and InnoCentive Inc. (a crowdsourcing and “open innovation” company) honoured one of B.C.’s brightest today by naming him the winner of their joint 21st Century Cyber-Schools Challenge.

Dr. Andrew Deonarine, a second-year medical resident in the Public Health and Preventative Medicine program at UBC and a junior fellow at St. John’s College, won the Challenge, which asked participants to address the problem of providing educational opportunities to the tens of millions of school-age students in developing nations around the world.

Dr. Deonarine’s idea, “EduCell,” is a cellular phone-based educational system that has content creation, distribution, and delivery capabilities. It provides a platform for basic literacy through “phonecasting.” EduCell can run on a variety of electronic devices, such as cellular phones, PDAs, embedded devices, and computers. With very few maintenance requirements, EduCell can be used to educate large segments of a given population with minimal infrastructure, finances, and manpower.

Dr. Deonarine’s next step is to present the plan at The Economist’s Ideas Economy: Human Potential Event on September 15–16.