- The free online education website founded by Bangladeshi American reaches billions of students across the world.
World’s richest person and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, recently donated $5 million to Khan Academy through his Musk Foundation. The nonprofit educational platform is founded by Bangladeshi American Salman “Sal” Khan, which enables billions of students to access science and mathematics-based classes and content.
In a tweet from his personal handle on Jan. 11, Khan thanked Musk or his donation through a video. “I just want to give a huge shoutout to Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation for their incredibly generous support for Khan Academy,” said Khan. “This is going to allow us to accelerate all sorts of content. It will allow us to make the software and the practice that much more engaging for millions of students and teachers around the world.Khan further shared, “I view this type of investment as really foundational for us to be able to build a multi-generational institution, so that future Elon Musks of the world are also able to tap into their potential and help all of us up-level who we are as a civilization.”
Khan Academy believes learners of all ages should have unlimited access to free educational content they can master at their own pace. Its resources cover preschool through early college education, including math, grammar, biology, chemistry, physics, economics, finance and history. Additionally, Khan Academy offers free personalized SAT test prep in partnership with the test developer, the College Board. More than 42 million registered users access Khan Academy in dozens of languages across 190 countries. Content is created by a team of experts and is completely free for all students and teachers.
Now more than ever, the Khan Academy has been a boon in these difficult times with millions of schools following distance learning to minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus. In an Aug. 31, 2020 interview with the Washington Post, Khan said he hopes to guide teachers, parents and kids “who are figuring out what works or doesn’t, fumbling and adjusting along the way.” Khan told the Post that in spring last year, “after schools began closing down, usage of Khan Academy’s free online tools was up 300 percent with more than 30 million kids using them.” He told the paper that he sees “similar patterns already and thinks the final number could be far higher this semester, as more schools start with more fleshed out plans for teaching.”
Khan said his “biggest concern” is about distance learning worsening inequality. “I can’t overstate how big of a problem this is,” he told the Post. “I’d be the first that wishes I could wave a magic wand and have an easy solution where all of this could be solved.”
Khan Academy started as a passion project in 2004. Khan’s cousin was struggling with math, so he tutored her remotely and posted educational videos on YouTube. So many people watched the videos that eventually Khan quit his job at a hedge fund and pursued Khan Academy full time. Today Khan Academy has more than 100 employees in Mountain View, California. Khan has been profiled by “60 Minutes,” featured on the cover of Forbes, and recognized as one of TIME’s ‘100 Most Influential People in the World.’
In his book, “The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined,” he outlines his vision for the future of education. Khan holds three degrees from MIT and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
The Musk Foundation was started in 2002 by Elon Musk and his brother, Kimbal. It provides support through grants for many causes, including renewable energy research and advocacy, human space exploration research and advocacy, pediatric research, science and engineering education and the development of safe artificial intelligence to benefit humanity according to the Tesmanian.
Prior to Khan Academy, the Musk Foundation donated $480,000 in grants for water filtration in Flint, Michigan, and $424,000 to supply laptop computers to Flint middle-schools.Other nonprofits who received donation from the foundation include Doctors Without Borders, World Spine Care, the co-educational Mirman School for Gifted Children, Artists for Peace and Justice, the Haitian Relief Organization, and those who suffered from hurricane Laura in Louisiana in August 2020.