Open Minds 2016: Public Square

Mohammad Imran Khan: Applied Wisdom

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A school teacher from Alwar, he builds free educational apps in his spare time that have been downloaded 43 lakh times

He represents the paradox that is at the heart of the Indian education system. A teacher at a Sanskrit school from Alwar, Rajasthan, who could not pursue his dream of becoming a scientist, Khan has emerged as the boatman helping thousands of students from low- income families navigate the sea of knowledge that is the internet. With his 60 free educational apps for primary and secondary students and for those preparing for competitive examinations—developed mostly by him and his daughter, who is a Class 10 student—he has crossed several milestones: 4.3 million downloads, and a mention by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address at London’s Wembley Stadium last November. “My India is in that Imran Khan from Alwar,” Modi said. Khan’s own idea of India is one that taps the potential of students studying in non-English-medium government schools.

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