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Launched by Sal Khan, Khan Academy is considered to be the precursor to the so-called massive open online courses. Photo: Bloomberg
Launched by Sal Khan, Khan Academy is considered to be the precursor to the so-called massive open online courses. Photo: Bloomberg

Khan Academy to launch Hindi platform on 3 December

The non-profit academy will customize around 3,000 math videos for Indian students and focus on its 'science lab'

New Delhi: Khan Academy, which revolutionized the way schoolchildren learn math and science in the United States and then the rest of the world, is set to enter India and will launch its free online offerings in Hindi first and other languages eventually.

Launched by Salman Khan (or Sal Khan), a former hedge fund manager born to a Bangladeshi father and a Bengali mother, the Khan Academy is considered by some to be the precursor to so-called massive open online courses (MOOCs).

The academy was born in 2006 when Khan started tutoring his young cousin in math.

Since then, Khan has become an iconic figure, as much for the simplicity of the tutorials (and their use of technology) as for the fact that his academy is a non-profit.

Then Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, said he uses the academy’s videos to teach his children.

Fame followed, as did a TED talk.

Khan Academy Hindi will be launched on 3 December in New Delhi with support from Central Square Foundation (CSF), a philanthropy fund focused on education and promoted by ChrysCapital founder Ashish Dhawan.

“After the US, Khan Academy sees India as a huge market but not to make profit. We shall provide customized and localized high-quality content in different languages," said Sandeep Bapna, India country manager of Khan Academy.

“Khan Academy Hindi is part of our collective vision to enable high-quality, localized and personalized learning resources to students across India, that can help them master skills at their own pace," Khan Academy and Central Square Foundation said in a statement on Monday.

The Khan Academy’s Hindi platform will provide a similar experience to its English platform and cover the syllabus prescribed by the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) for math.

The Khan Academy has around 20 million visitors to its site a month—70% from the United States.

Bapna said that in India, Khan Academy could be a big factor in “after-school tutoring" and also help improve the competency of teachers.

Over the next six months, Khan Academy will customize around 2,500-3,000 math videos for students in the country and then focus on its “science lab", Bapna said.

Around 2.5 lakh people from India visit the site every month, he added.

The academy will be popular in India, said an education consultant.

“It will be different from commercial tutoring... but Indians always seek quality content in math and science," said Kalpesh Banker, managing partner of EduShine Advisory, an education consultancy.

That may well mean a disruption in India’s tutorial space.

“Branding and acceptance won’t be an issue (for Khan Academy) but (the availability of) high-speed Internet could," Banker added.

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