The Shikkhok.com project developed by University of Alabama at Birmingham Assistant Professor Ragib Hasan, Ph.D., took home the prestigious 2015 mBillionth Award for its excellence in mobile learning and mobile education in South Asia.
Hasan, assistant professor of computer and information sciences and director of the UAB SECure and Trustworthy Computing Lab, designed this project specifically to help educate Bengali-speaking rural and disadvantaged students of South Asia. Shikkhok offers mobile classes in mathematics, biology, statistics, computer science, photography, culinary arts and more from the middle school level all the way to graduate-level courses.
Shikkhok has delivered 8.4 million lectures to nearly 700,000 students in Bangladesh and India in fewer than three years. Shikkhok also partners with the Facebook-funded Internet.org project in Bangladesh, and the program is accessed free by millions of mobile phone users in Bangladesh through that initiative.
This award recognizes Shikkhok for its best practices in the mobile and telecom industry. Nominations were accepted from all eight South Asian countries, honoring excellence in use of mobile communications for development and empowerment in that region.
This year, 320 projects were nominated for the award in 11 categories. Out of these, the first-round jury chose 160 projects for the grand jury to review. Ultimately, 53 projects were chosen as finalists, and in the final rounds, Shikkhok was one of the winners selected in the m-education and m-learning categories.
Hasan was previously recognized for this project as a recipient of the 2013 Google RISE Award, the 2013 Information Society Innovation Fund Award and the 2014 Internet Society Community Grant award, among others.