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Heard: Schools in India Expanding Use Of Khan Academy

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Elvin W. via Compfight

Anupama Chandrasekaran writes in The New York Times’ India Ink blog about schools in India that are turning to the Khan Academy for help. The reason is because of a teacher and textbook shortage. Only a few schools in India are using the online video tutoring lessons so far. But more could follow as people are dubbing 450 of the 3,400 English language video lessons into at least three Indian languages. School officials hope the efforts will boost STEM subjects in India, curb absenteeism and help test scores. Khan Academy is also talking with India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development about aligning video tutorials to schools’ syllabi. Chandrasekaran writes: 

As of August, three to four percent of the site’s six million monthly users were from India, making it the third-largest traffic generator, behind Canada and the United States, Sundar Subbarayan, leader of Khan Academy’s school partnerships, said in an interview via Skype and in an e-mail. He also said he was aware of 10 schools in India that are using Khan Academy videos.

Some of those Indian users came from the computer lab at Sree Karpagavalli Vidhyalaya Middle School, a troubled private school in central Chennai that receives government funds for the first- to fifth-grade classes. The nonprofit Altius Foundation in Chennai pays for the teachers in the sixth to eighth grades. Most of the school’s students come from one of the dozen neighborhood slums, and vast majority of their parents have never had a school education.

During a recent visit to a second-floor classroom, 11 girls and 5 boys, dressed in checked beige shirts and brown pants, were seated with their headsets, watching their choice of math-based Khan Academy videos that were subtitled in Tamil by the foundation. If the students, who are 10 to 12 years old, don’t understand something, they can seek clarification from one of the two supervisors in the lab, which has 16 Web-enabled computers.

“The system is goal-based and so kids are able to work at their pace,” said Srikanth Chandrasekaran, a stock trader and a philanthropist who runs the Altius Foundation. He donated 500,000 rupees ($9,400) to set up the computer lab in June 2011 at the middle school.

Via The New York Times

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