In a country as big as India, quality education has become a matter of concern. The teachers and the teaching quality are both dwindling at an enormous rate. This means many students are devoid of the basic quality education they deserve. In a scenario like this, the Khan Academy has risen like a messiah; this America based free tutorial service has made teaching and learning both easy.
Schools in India are already using their services to strengthen their basics in Science and Maths. This is not all, the Khan Academy and its online tutorials have also been instrumental in preventing absenteeism, helping boost scores and in worst case scenarios take the place of teachers themselves. However, the real challenge exists in ensuring that all these videos are understood and accessible to the children. Dubbing the 3,400 Khan Academy videos into even three regional languages is indeed a massive task.
Khan Academy is the brainchild of Salman Khan, a Harvard Business School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumnus. His simple tutorial videos made for his cousins had managed to not just teach them but at the same time make them quite popular among others too. This was when the Khan Academy came into existence. With grants from Google and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation this humble academy has managed to reach out to a lot of students all over the world. India accounts for almost 3-4% of the users and also makes them the third highest traffic generators for the website.
The Sree Karpagavalli Vidhyalaya Middle School is an apt example of how the Khan Academy came to the rescue of this private school which was struggling to hold its roots. The online lessons not only meant teaching a concept but also ensuring that the student understood it well and at his or her pace. Taking a note from this a number of affluent schools are now turning to these online tutorial videos to teach. This means that the teacher spends more time interacting with the class and discussing ideas on a broader spectrum.
Education system in India needs a revival and a healthy one for that. The Khan Academy is like a step towards it. It cannot completely bridge the gap between students and teachers, but it is here to make a difference for sure.
Read the full article over at the New York Times India Blog.