Global Indian: Salman Khan of Khan Academy

Global Indian Salman Khan


Salman Khan was born in Metairie, Louisiana, United States, to a Bengali family. His father was from Barisal, Bangladesh, and his mother was from Murshidabad, India.


Salman Khan is an alumnus of The University of New Orleans, in Louisiana. Khan attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), graduating with Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in (electrical engineering and computer science), and another bachelor’s degree (mathematics), in 1998. He was class president in his senior year. Khan also holds a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.


In late 2003, Khan began tutoring his cousin, Nadia, in mathematics over the internet using Yahoo!’s Doodle notepad. When other relatives and friends sought his tutoring, he moved his tutorials to YouTube where he created an account on November 16, 2006.

The popularity of his educational videos on the video-sharing website prompted Khan to quit his job as a financial analyst in late 2009. He moved his focus to developing his YouTube channel, Khan Academy, full-time with the aid of close friend Josh Gefner. Khan consequently received sponsorship from Ann Doerr, the wife of John Doerr.

His videos received worldwide interest from both students and non-students, with more than 458 million views in the first few years.

Khan outlined his mission was to, “…accelerate learning for students of all ages. With this in mind, we want to share our content with whoever may find it useful.” Khan plans to extend the “free school” to cover topics such as English. Khan’s videos are also used to educate rural areas of Africa and Asia.

Khan published a book about Khan Academy and education goals titled-The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined.

Khan Academy, initially a tool for students, added the Coach feature in 2012, promoting the connection of teachers with students through videos and monitor tools.

By 2020, Khan Academy’s videos on YouTube had been viewed over 1.7 billion times.

Khan believes that supplementing traditional classroom education with the technology being developed by his Academy can improve the effectiveness of teachers by freeing them from traditional lectures and giving them more time for instruction specific to individual students’ needs.

Stanford AI researcher Andrew Ng has named Khan as a huge inspiration for the founding of Coursera, one of the first Massive open online courses (MOOCs) platforms.

Salman Khan, in a partnership with Long Beach Unified School District, launched Schoolhouse World, a free non-profit initiative to connect students with math support from teachers. The service uses topics from Khan Academy to help teachers identify concepts that should be taught via video conferencing.

Awards and Recognition:

Khan Academy has gained recognition both in the US and outside. In April 2012, the founder and executive director of Khan Academy, Salman Khan, was listed among TIME’s 100 Most Influential People for 2012. Khan was one of five winners of the 2014 Heinz Award. His award was in the area of “Human Condition.” In 2016, Khan Academy won a Shorty Award for Best in Education.