Coursera enrols governments in online learning

Hannah Kuchler:

Coursera, the online education platform, is targeting veterans in the US, youth in Pakistan and would-be financiers in Kazakhstan with the launch of a service where governments pay on behalf of users.

Agencies from seven national governments have signed up to provide online training, aiming to close the skills gap and encourage people into employment in a cheaper way than conventional education.

By paying a couple of hundred dollars a year per student, the governments can provide free courses to the unemployed or underemployed in everything from machine learning in Mongolia to Excel spreadsheets in Egypt.

Rick Levin, chief executive of Coursera and former president of Yale University, said the Silicon Valley start-up began by addressing the skills gap individually and was moving to working with employers and governments.