Carlos Slim helps Coursera expand Latin American reach

Coursera and the Carlos Slim Foundation have teamed up to create a Spanish UI and 13 Learning Hubs

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
January 30, 2014
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With 329 million native speakers, Spanish is the second largest language in the world. For any company that wants to make itself global, getting a handle on the language almost seems like a must.

One company that definitely wants to makes its presence known around the globe is Coursera. Now, through a new partnership, the ed-tech startup will be able to better reach out to the Spanish-speaking world.

Coursera has entered into a new partnership with the Carlos Slim Foundationthe company announced in a blog post on Wednesday. The Carlos Slim Foundation is one of Mexico’s top philanthropic organizations, and is headed by the world’s second-richest person.

The move will "improve access to education among Spanish speaking students around the world, as well as support opportunities for career development and employment throughout Latin America," Coursera.

The partnership has three main goals.

The first is to make more educational content available in Spanish by creating a new Spanish language user interface, as well as the translation of 50 courses by the end of 2014.

Coursera and The Foundation will also be creating content together in the form of individual courses or as part of Coursera’s new Specializations program. They will be focused on employability and job skills in "high-priority subject areas," including computer science, teacher professional development, healthcare and public health.

Lastly, they want to increase discoverability of content and access to physical spaces. This will be done through a network of Learning Hubs, which allows people who have limited access to the Internet tp take Coursera courses.

Coursera's Learning Hubs were first announced at the end of October. In these spaces, users will be able to access the Internet to take a Coursera course online, while also working with other students. The users will also have access to local course facilitators. 

Initial partners included partners also include Bluebells School International and Lady Sriram College for WomenDigital October and Overcoming Faith Academy Kenya. 

Now more partners are being added to facilitate the Learning Hubs in Spanish-speaking countries. There will be 13 spaces altogether, along with Telmex Hub, which is  technological innovation and education space in Mexico City, and a new Telmex Digital Library in the state of Veracruz.

“We deeply respect both the approach and the impact of Fundación Carlos Slim, and are excited about our partnership to remove barriers to high-quality education for Spanish speaking students,” said Daphne Koller, co-founder of Coursera, said in a statement. 

“This partnership will help students develop skills in critical, fast-growing employment sectors in Latin America to make an impact on their lives and their communities.”

About Coursera

Mountain View, California-based Coursera was founded by Stanford professors Andrew Ng and Koller in the fall of 2011.  It is a social entrepreneurship company that partners with universities in order to offer courses online for anyone to take for free. 

Coursera, which focuses on bringing university classes to Web users around the world. Its mission is to educate millions of people by offering classes from top universities and institutions online for free. 

Since launching in April 2012, the company has registered more than 4 million students, from every country in the world.

In February, Coursera launched in 29 new universities from 13 different countries from around the world, including Hong Kong, the Netherlands and France. The company now works with 83 educational institutions, and offers around 400 free college-level courses.

The company has raised a total of $65 million in funding, including $16 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) and New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and $43 million Series B funding from GSV Capital, International Finance Corporation, Laureate Education Inc, Learn Capital, and entrepreneur and venture capitalist Yuri Milner in July of 2013.

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