Harvard and MIT are part of $ 800 million deal to expand access to online education

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Education technology company 2U Inc., which manages graduate programs for dozens of top universities, purchases online course provider edX, a non-profit organization founded by the University Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for $ 800 million.

The deal brings together two major players in online education as universities around the world embark more aggressively on digital offerings. Many schools rushed to change online classes when the pandemic shut down campuses last year, and now they are expected to build on and tweak the curricula.

Proceeds from the sale will go to a nonprofit, run by Harvard and MIT, which the schools say will focus on reducing inequalities in access to education. It will maintain the open access course platform built by edX, seek out e-learning and hybrid learning models, and strive to minimize the digital divide that still poses a barrier for many young students and adults, said schools.

“These are the first steps in the digital transformation of education,” said 2U CEO Chip Paucek, adding that he anticipated a time when “online education would be normalized as, simply, education.” .

EdX was founded by Harvard and MIT in 2012, with the goal of democratizing elite education with free courses, taught by top professors, available to students around the world. Over time, he added certificates of completion, available for a fee, and course sequences that, when stacked, could lead to degrees and ultimately a diploma. It has also started providing corporate training on topics such as entrepreneurship and cybersecurity.

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