Khan Academy launches Hindi math tutorials in India

  • Rozelle Laha, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Dec 07, 2015 13:58 IST
Khan Academy, a US-based non-profit organisation and an e-learning website, has announced the launch of its free online tutorials in Hindi in India. (Central Square Foundation)

Khan Academy, a US-based non-profit organisation and an e-learning website, has announced the launch of its free online tutorials in Hindi in India.

The brainchild of MIT graduate and a successful financial analyst Salman Khan, the academy was launched in 2006 when Khan decided to post mathematics tutorials for his cousin Nadia on YouTube.

After the videos attracted thousands of viewers, Khan posted more and the response compelled him to leave his full-time job as a hedge fund analyst and launch the academy which offers free, online tutorial to school children across the world.

Talking to HT Education during his visit to India, the math wizard expressed his plans to start with mathematics tutorials in India as he believes that the subject has ‘a lot of commonality’.

“We want to work in a way that allows us to reach to most number of students in India. My gut sense says the government students need them (the tutorials) more. We will work with both private and government institutes and figure out where they get the most traction. As we see models that work, we are going to replicate them across geography,” Khan said on Thursday.

The tutorials, to start with, will stick to the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) syllabus for mathematics. So far the Hindi platform has translated around 500 mathematics video tutorials for class 5 to class 8.

The academy, which has received funding from global players like Google and Microsoft, will be supported by ChrysCapital founder Ashish Dhawan-led Central Square Foundation (CSF) in India.

“Khan Academy is intuitive, focused on getting you to understand the concept that internalises the learning rather than mere rote learning that our system has focused on so far. The tutorials will be supplemented with a platform and students will have a practice element and not just watching a series of videos. It is a robust platform,” Dhawan says.

The portal, which is quite like the massive open online courses (MOOCs), has witnessed an organic growth of over 45% during the past three years in India, in terms of lessons served and viewed. In terms of user growth in India, the academy has seen a jump from 2.7 million in 2012 to 5.4 million in 2014. For 2015, this figure is estimated at 8.5 million.

The objective of the academy is to translate the entire platform for all classes, eventually.

What makes the videos different from other online tutorials is perhaps the intuitive approach. The material cannot only be used by students for self-study, teachers can also refer to them in schools.

“A teacher might tell students that the lecture is on Khan Academy and I can use the class time on more dialogues or project discussion. It should hopefully lift even a well -resourced school,” Khan, who was born to a Bangladeshi father and Indian mother, observes.

Khan’s efforts have been appreciated by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and in September, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Khan, ministry of external affairs (MEA) spokesperson Vikas Swarup had tweeted that he is “an educator with a difference”.

Sandeep Bapna has been appointed the academy’s India country manager, the only staff in the academy hired outside of North America.

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