In a country where teachers are in short supply and decent textbooks are hard to find, Indian schools are pinning their hopes on a free online tutorial service based in the United States.
A few Indian schools are already using Khan Academy, which offers lessons on numerous subjects through online videos, to cement math and science fundamentals, cut student absenteeism, boost test scores and in some cases, to simply survive. But these one-time school initiatives could gain traction from an effort to dub 450 of the 3,400 English-language Khan Academy videos in at least three Indian languages, as well as other efforts to make them more accessible to Indian students.
In addition, Khan Academy is in early talks with India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development to match schools’ syllabi with the relevant Web tutorials.
“What our teachers have is merely textbooks, and there is a dire need of solid teaching and learning resources,” said Giridhar Subramanian of Azim Premji Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Bangalore that focuses on education. The foundation has already dubbed 38 Khan Academy videos in Hindi, Tamil and Kannada, with plans to complete 120 by March and 450 by 2014.
The foundation is making the dubbed videos available through an affiliated Web site, TeachersofIndia.org and through its field institutes that work with rural schools.
“When good instructional material is easily available, why should we reinvent?” he said.
Khan Academy was started in 2008 by Salman Khan, an alumnus of Harvard Business School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, following the growing popularity of video tutorials he did for his cousins. In 2010, Khan Academy received a $2 million grant from Google and $1.5 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
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.
Source: The New York Times
Read more: http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/15/lacking-teachers-and-textbooks-indias-schools-turn-to-khan-academy-to-survive/
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