Salman "Sal" Amin Khan is an American educator and the founder of Khan Academy, a free online non-profit educational platform with which he has produced over 6,500 video lessons teaching a wide spectrum of academic subjects, originally focusing on mathematics and science. He is also the founder of Khan Lab School, a private brick-and-mortar school in Mountain View, California.
As of July 2023, the Khan Academy channel on YouTube has 7.94 million subscribers, and its videos have been viewed more than two billion times. In 2012, Khan was named in the annual publication of Time 100. In the same year, he was featured on the cover of Forbes, with the tagline "The $1 Trillion Opportunity."
Sal Khan, born on October 11, 1976, in Metairie, Louisiana, comes from a family with diverse roots. His father, Fakhrul Amin Khan, a physician, hailed from Rahmatpur in Babuganj Upazila, Bangladesh, while his mother, Masuda Khan, is from Murshidabad in West Bengal, India. Khan's family also has historical ties, including descendants of Rahmat Khan, a 16th-century Pashtun chieftain, and his grandfather, Abdul Wahab Khan, a prominent Pakistani politician. Khan's academic journey began at Grace King High School, where he graduated as valedictorian in 1994, displaying his passion for mathematics and even cartooning for the school's newspaper.
Khan's pursuit of knowledge led him to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he obtained Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in electrical engineering and computer science, along with another bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1998. After his academic achievements, he also earned a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. Khan's career path included stints at PARC as a summertime intern in 2002, followed by working as a hedge fund analyst at Connective Capital Management from 2003 to late 2009.
However, it was in 2004 that Khan's trajectory took a transformative turn. He began tutoring his cousin in mathematics over the internet, using Yahoo!'s Doodle notepad. The growing demand for his tutorials led him to YouTube in 2006, where he established Khan Academy, sharing educational content that garnered immense popularity. In 2009, Khan left his position as a financial analyst to dedicate himself fully to Khan Academy, with support from Ann Doerr, the wife of John Doerr. The academy's videos gained widespread attention, amassing over 458 million views in the initial years.
Sal Khan's mission became clear: to accelerate learning for individuals of all ages, democratising education through technology. He expanded Khan Academy's offerings, even partnering with the College Board to provide free SAT test practice resources. Beyond Khan Academy, Khan's influence extended to inspiring the founding of Coursera, a pioneering massive open online course (MOOC) platform. In 2014, he introduced Khan Lab School, centered on personalized learning and the concept of a flipped classroom, aiming to empower students to manage their learning independently and at their own pace.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Khan's innovative spirit led to the launch of Schoolhouse, offering free small-group tutoring through Zoom meetings. This initiative provided much-needed support during a challenging time. With a commitment to education, Sal Khan continues to reshape the way people learn, inspiring learners globally and revolutionising education through technology-driven platforms and pedagogical innovations.
Sal Khan's vision is to democratise education and make high-quality learning accessible to everyone, regardless of their geographical location, socio-economic background, or learning pace. As the founder of Khan Academy, his mission is to create a global educational platform that empowers learners to unlock their full potential. He envisions a future where traditional barriers to education are dismantled, and learners of all ages can engage with personalised, interactive, and engaging educational content.
At the core of Sal Khan's vision is the belief that education should be student-centric and adaptive. He aims to harness the power of technology, particularly online resources and artificial intelligence, to provide tailored learning experiences that cater to individual needs, strengths, and learning styles. By leveraging technology to deliver personalised instruction, he envisions a world where every learner can progress at their own pace, grasp concepts thoroughly, and build a strong foundation for lifelong learning.
Sal Khan's ultimate goal is to create a global community of empowered learners who are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to navigate the challenges of the 21st century. Through his innovative approach to education, he seeks to empower individuals to pursue their passions, cultivate critical thinking, and contribute meaningfully to their communities and the world at large.
Recognition and Awards
- Number of videos | Khan Academy
- From YouTube Pioneer Sal Khan, A School with Real Classrooms | NPR.org
- Khan Academy | YouTube
- Time 100 – Salman Khan | Time
- One Man, One Computer, 10 Million Students: How Khan Academy Is Reinventing Education | Forbes
- Salman Khan | Biography.com
- Salman Khan's message: about bangla Khan Academy | YouTube
- Khan Academy Blends Its YouTube Approach With Classrooms | The New York Times
- Tension in an accelerating system and pie in the face | YouTube
- Alumni Spotlights - Salman Khan | www.unoalumni.com
- Khan Academy founder returns home as big name in U.S. school reform | The Times Picayune
- Sal Khan Is Commencement Speaker | The Tech
- MIT's Next Commencement Speaker Sal Khan Compares His Alma Mater to Hogwarts | Wired Academic
- Innovation in Education: Bill Gates' favorite teacher | Money CNN
- College 2.0: A Self-Appointed Teacher Runs a One-Man 'Academy' on YouTube – Technology | Chronicle
- The Colbert Report | Colbert Nation
- Sal Khan | LinkedIn
- Salman Khan: Let's use video to reinvent education | TED
- Khan academy | YouTube
- Bookmark: The Prof Who Keeps His Shirt On | Outlook India