Coursera today announced it has partnered with the Carlos Slim Foundation to improve employment opportunities by offering access to high-quality education at low cost or for free throughout Latin America. The initiative will entail a major translation project to bring top Coursera courses into Spanish.

The duo plans to translate 50 courses by the end of 2014. The Slim Foundation has already worked with Coursera to translate the service’s user interface into Spanish.

The strategic partnership was announced today in Mexico City by Carlos Slim Foundation founder Carlos Slim Helú and Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller. The collaboration will focus on three shared goals:

  • Improving access to high-quality educational content in Spanish.
  • Creating educational content focused on employability.
  • Increasing access to physical spaces where students with limited Internet connectivity can take Coursera courses.

Some of the effort will focus on the translation of Specializations, the multi-course certificate program introduced by Coursera last week to help students master skills in high-demand fields. Yet the joint education initiative goes beyond Coursera’s existing offerings.

The two groups will also work with leading universities in Latin America to identify and develop new Spanish-language courses tailored to local employment needs in the region. These courses will focus on “high-priority subject areas,” including Computer Science, teacher professional development, healthcare and public health, as well as essential professional skills such as communication and leadership.

Today’s announcement comes hot on the heels of news that Coursera blocked its online learning service in Cuba, Iran, and Sudan to comply with US law. The Internet has the power to offer education for all, but unfortunately politics still play a big role.

See also – Coursera partners with 13 new institutions to pass 100 total, eclipses 5 million students and 500 courses too and Coursera leaps another online learning hurdle, partners with Chegg and 5 publishers to give students free textbooks

Top Image Credit: Fred Kuipers