Sal Khan

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Sal Khan
Khan speaking at a TED conference in 2011
Salman Amin Khan

(1976-10-11) October 11, 1976 (age 47)
  • Educator
  • entrepreneur
Board member ofAspen Institute
Umaima Marvi
(m. 2004)
RelativesAbdul Wahab Khan (grandfather)

Salman "Sal" Amin Khan (born October 11, 1976) 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.[1] He is also the founder of Khan Lab School, a private in-person school in Mountain View, California.[2]

As of December 2023, the Khan Academy channel on YouTube has 8.17 million subscribers, and its videos have been viewed more than two billion times.[3] In 2012, Khan was named in the annual publication of Time 100.[4] In the same year, he was featured on the cover of Forbes, with the tagline "The $1 Trillion Opportunity."[5]

Early life and family[edit]

Khan was born in Metairie, Louisiana, on October 11, 1976, into a Bengali Muslim family.[6] His father Fakhrul Amin Khan (d. 1990) was a physician,[7][8] originally hailing from the village of Rahmatpur in Babuganj Upazila, Bangladesh. His mother Masuda Khan is from Murshidabad in West Bengal, India.[6][9] He grew up in a state of financial difficulty, recalling that his mother made $16,000 in 1993—he knew this because he had to do her taxes to get financial aid.[10] They are descendants of Rahmat Khan, a 16th-century Pashtun chieftain who was killed in battle with Kandarpanarayan Rai, the erstwhile Raja of Chandradwip.[11] Khan's grandfather Abdul Wahab Khan was a prominent Pakistani politician who served as the country's second official Speaker of the National Assembly.


He attended Grace King High School, where, as he recalls, "a few classmates were fresh out of jail and others were bound for top universities."[12] He was a cartoonist for the high school's newspaper.[13] Khan took upper-level mathematics courses at the University of New Orleans while he was in high school and graduated as valedictorian in 1994.[14][15]

He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), graduating in 1998 with Bachelor's and Master of Science degrees in the electrical engineering and computer science program, and another bachelor's degree in mathematics.[16][17] In his final year, Khan was the president of the "Senior Gift Committee," a philanthropy program of the graduating class.[18]

Khan also holds a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.[19]


In 2002, Khan was a summertime intern at PARC. From 2003 to late 2009, he worked as a hedge fund analyst at Connective Capital Management.[20][21]

Khan Academy[edit]

In 2004, Khan began tutoring his cousin, Nadia, in mathematics over the internet using Yahoo!'s Doodle notepad.[22] When other relatives and friends sought his tutoring, he moved his tutorials to YouTube, where he created an account on November 16, 2006.[23]

The popularity of his educational videos on the video-sharing website prompted Khan to quit his job as a financial analyst in late 2009.[24] He moved his focus to developing his YouTube channel, Khan Academy, full-time with the aid of close friend Josh Gefner.[20] Khan subsequently received sponsorship from Ann Doerr, the wife of John Doerr.[25]

His videos received worldwide interest from both students and non-students, with more than 458 million views in the first number[quantify] of years.[24] In 2023, Khan Academy has more than 155 million registered users, with students spending billions of hours of learning on the platform.[26]

Khan outlined his mission as 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 literature.[27]

Khan published a book about Khan Academy and education goals titled The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined.[28]

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.[24] In 2012, Khan received the American Academy of Achievement’s Gold Medal.[29][30] In 2014, Khan received the 19th Annual Heinz Award in the Human Condition category.[31]

In 2015, Khan announced that Khan Academy was partnering with the College Board to create free practice resources for the SAT test.[32]

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.[33]

Stanford AI researcher Andrew Ng has named Khan as an inspiration for the founding of Coursera, one of the first massive open online course (MOOC) platforms.[34]

In March 2023 and built upon OpenAI’s large language model, Khan Academy's AI-powered teaching assistant, Khanmigo was launched.[35]

Khan Lab School[edit]

Khan's pedagogical idea is that students learn better when they can manage the process of acquiring knowledge independently and at their own pace. They should then work in teams to apply the knowledge they have learned. This concept is known as flipped classroom.[36] His approach to learning incorporates elements of Benjamin Bloom's Mastery Learning.[37] This Personalized Learning method is tested at his Khan Lab School, founded in 2014.[38][edit]

In early 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, Khan launched Schoolhouse: a free non-profit initiative to provide small-group tutoring for students worldwide through Zoom meetings.[39]

Schoolhouse certifications, developed in partnership with the University of Chicago, test students’ mastery of subjects and certify their knowledge. MIT, Caltech, and Case Western Reserve University have since signed on.[40][41]


In 2016, Khan received the fourth-highest civilian award of the Republic of India, the Padma Shri, from the President of India.[42] On May 27, 2021, Khan received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Harvard University.[43]


In 2010 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation became one of the academy's biggest supporters.[44] In 2012 Khan was named one of TIMES's 100 most influential people in the world.[45] Bill Gates has said; "I've used Khan Academy with my kids, and I'm amazed at the breadth of Sal's subject expertise and his ability to make complicated topics understandable".[46]

Personal life[edit]

Khan is married to physician Umaima Marvi. The couple live with their children in Mountain View, California.[47][48][49] Khan's first child, a son, suffered from childhood epilepsy, which he later outgrew, but the experience had lasting effects for the family to realize what was important in life.[50]

Khan has said about his beliefs:

"If you believe in trying to make the best of the finite number of years we have on this planet (while not making it any worse for anyone else), think that pride and self-righteousness are the cause of most conflict and negativity, and are humbled by the vastness and mystery of the Universe, then I'm the same religion as you."[51]


  1. ^ Number of videos, Khan Academy.
  2. ^ Westervelt, Eric (June 30, 2016). "From YouTube Pioneer Sal Khan, A School with Real Classrooms". NPR.
  3. ^ "Khan Academy". YouTube. Retrieved February 1, 2023.
  4. ^ Gates, Bill (April 18, 2012). "Time 100 – Salman Khan". Time. Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
  5. ^ Noer, Michael (November 2, 2012). "One Man, One Computer, 10 Million Students: How Khan Academy Is Reinventing Education". Forbes.
  6. ^ a b "Salman Khan". Archived from the original on May 15, 2017. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  7. ^ Ahsan, Kingkar (June 10, 2010). "স্বপ্নচূড়ায় সালমান". Prothom Alo (in Bengali). Dhaka. Archived from the original on February 9, 2018.
  8. ^ Sarkar, Anjali (January 18, 2012). "সমাবর্তন বক্তা সালমান". Prothom Alo (in Bengali). Dhaka. Archived from the original on August 3, 2020.
  9. ^ Gear Views (July 11, 2015). "Salman Khan's message: about bangla Khan Academy". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 15, 2021.
  10. ^ Ask me anything with Sal Khan: May 15 | Homeroom with Sal, May 15, 2020, retrieved September 3, 2023
  11. ^ Ahmed, Siraj Uddin (2010). বরিশাল বিভাগের ইতিহাস (in Bengali). Vol. 1. Dhaka: Bhaskar Prakashani.
  12. ^ Sengupta, Somini (December 4, 2011). "Khan Academy Blends Its YouTube Approach With Classrooms". The New York Times. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
  13. ^ "Tension in an accelerating system and pie in the face". YouTube. February 10, 2008. Archived from the original on December 15, 2021. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  14. ^ "Alumni Spotlights - Salman Khan". Archived from the original on November 29, 2020. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  15. ^ Tan, Sarah (May 18, 2013). "Khan Academy founder returns home as big name in U.S. school reform". The Times Picayune. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  16. ^ Solomon, Ethan A. (December 6, 2011). "Sal Khan Is Commencement Speaker". The Tech. Archived from the original on June 9, 2017. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  17. ^ Butcher, Ev. "Course Code Designation Key". MIT Club of San Diego. Archived from the original on July 25, 2011.
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  19. ^ Kaplan, David A. (August 24, 2010). "Innovation in Education: Bill Gates' favorite teacher". Money. CNN. Archived from the original on December 23, 2010. Retrieved June 30, 2012.
  20. ^ a b Kowarski, Ilana (June 6, 2010). "College 2.0: A Self-Appointed Teacher Runs a One-Man 'Academy' on YouTube – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education". Chronicle.
  21. ^ Colbert, Stephen (Host) (2011). The Colbert Report. Colbert Nation. Retrieved June 30, 2012.
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  24. ^ a b c Sen, Ashish Kumar (June 28, 2010). "Bookmark: The Prof Who Keeps His Shirt On". Outlook India.
  25. ^ Bower, Amanda (December 16, 2011). "Substitute teacher". The Australian.
  26. ^ "Sal Khan helped usher in an era of online learning through Khan Academy. Will its AI tool, Khanmigo, be a model for the future of education? Sal Khan helped usher in an era of online learning through Khan Academy. Will its AI tool, Khanmigo, be a model for the future of education?". Fortune. Retrieved December 5, 2023.
  27. ^ Temple, James (December 14, 2009). "Salman Khan, math master of the Internet – SFGate". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 26, 2010.
  28. ^ Khan, Salman 'Sal' (2012). Talking about his new book. AirTalk (radio interview). Khan Adcademy. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
  29. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
  30. ^ "2012 Summit Highlights Photo". Salman Khan, pioneer of online education, receives the Gold Medal from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
  31. ^ "The Heinz Awards :: Salman Khan".
  32. ^ "College Board and Khan Academy team up to ease access to new SAT". June 2, 2015.
  33. ^ Temple, James (December 14, 2009). "Salman Khan, math master of the Internet". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 23, 2009.
  34. ^ Ng, Andrew. "Origins of the Modern MOOC" (PDF).
  35. ^ Towers-Clark, Charles. "Khan Academy: An AI Revolution In Education Or Threat To Human Skills?". Forbes. Retrieved December 5, 2023.
  36. ^ Future Talk #9, Redesigning Math Education, November 13, 2013, retrieved February 20, 2023
  37. ^ "Salman Khan". Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  38. ^ Weller, Chris. "The founder of Khan Academy built the ultimate school for kids to work and play together — take a look inside". Business Insider. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  39. ^ "Free Online Tutoring — Schoolhouse". Retrieved June 11, 2022.
  40. ^ Barnard, Brennan. "Tutor Your Way To A College Acceptance (While Doing Good)". Forbes. Retrieved June 11, 2022.
  41. ^ "Free Resources for Calculus, Chemistry, and/or Physics". Undergraduate Admissions. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  42. ^ "Padma Awards website". Archived from the original on April 11, 2022. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  43. ^ Salman Amin Khan Doctor of Laws, Join the Celebration (May 27, 2021). "Honoring the Class of 2021". Retrieved May 29, 2021.
  44. ^ Adams, Richard (April 23, 2013). "Sal Khan: the man who tutored his cousin – and started a revolution". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved December 5, 2023.
  45. ^ "The World's 100 Most Influential People: 2012 - TIME". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved December 5, 2023.
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  48. ^ "Meet Sal Khan, Khan Academy". Retrieved August 28, 2015.
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  50. ^ "351: If You Want To Change the World, Educate the World". Finding Mastery. Retrieved December 5, 2023.
  51. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions - Info Pages". Archived from the original on March 14, 2023.

External links[edit]