Salman Khan- the Educator, not the Indian Hero

In 2005 US visit, I came to know about Salman and wrote a blog on his work. Through Anand’s Face book entry, I came to know of MIT honouring Salman’s enterprise. Salman A. Khan delivered the keynote address at MIT’s 146th Commencement and became the youngest Commencement speaker in at least 30 years.

Thereafter, when I was searching some material about Salman S Khan through Google search engine, I reached Salman Khan, the famous Indian actor. I had to change my description to Salman Khan the founder of Khan Academy. I could get Salman, the educator in US.

Salman who started his tutoring for a cousin has become a global educator. His endeavour has received recognition. Salman Khan has talked at TED about his concept. Business Week called him Meshiah of Mathematics and covered his illustrious journey to fame. Salman without being a traditional teacher must be one of the most known among the teachers and students of US today.

As reported, the not-for-profit Khan Academy with its collection of his 2,500-plus education-related videos now reaches over 1 million unique students a month. Salman has written for ‘Business World’ expanding his concept of One World, One Classroom.

As Salman claims, “The Khan Academy videos have humanized the classroom. Instead of 30 students passively listening to a one-size-fits-all kind of lecture, they could now watch the lectures at their own pace at home and actually interact with their peers and teachers in class.”

Salman Khan perhaps didn’t like to go for researches in mathematics, but developed a passion to make the subject interesting and easily graspable for even ordinary students through series of videos available on U-Tube. He may not be a Ramanujam, but his model of education may create some by making the dry subject of science interesting.

Khan founded Khan Academy in 2006, and the not-for-profit educational website has grown to host over 2700 instructional videos in topics ranging from basic algebra to thermodynamics to art history, in addition to online exercises and drills. Khan Academy, which offers its services for free, is supported by donations; among others, Google has promised to contribute $2 million, while the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed to $1.5 million.

Math was one of Salman’s majors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, along with computer science and electrical engineering. He then went to for a master also at MIT, and then an MBA from Harvard.

Obama must be proud of Salman. Perhaps he is the answer to make American kids compete with Chinese and Indians.
Salman’s digital technique of teaching maths and other subjects can be one answer for India’s problem of quality teaching in Indian institutes. It will reduce rote learning and make the students understand at their own speed the lessons of the various subjects.

I wish the government tie up with Salman and get his videos dubbed in local languages. One can get a glimpse of his method through a simple example of algebra.

One can go to the website of Salman Academy, select his subject, go from one lesson to the next slowly grasping it fully. All these are free. Many top class schools in the metros with internet facilities can take advantage of learning from the Salman Academy.

And I dream one day all the 1.4 million schools in India, mainly located in remote areas would get digitally connected through broadband. At least that’s what the government promises. And all the lessons of Salman Academy would be able to make the interested students proficient in science subjects. Other agencies would also come up to assist in the task.

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