Bloomberg News

IMF to Offer Classes Through Harvard-MIT EdX Online Venture

June 19, 2013

EdX, the online learning venture founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has teamed up with the International Monetary Fund to offer classes in economics and fiscal policy.

The IMF will offer its classes through EdX, which provides free online courses from 27 universities worldwide, EdX founder Anant Agarwal said today in a statement. The Washington-based IMF already offers 270 courses on financial policy to central bank, finance ministry and other government workers.

“Demand for the programs furiously exceeds the IMF’s ability to offer training,” Agarwal said in a telephone interview. Now EdX will let a broader audience access the training for free.

EdX, which started last year with $60 million in seed funding, is one of a number of providers of massive open online courses, or MOOCs. Coursera, a for-profit company founded by two Stanford University professors, is offering classes to more than 3.5 million students. The partnership with the IMF brings the courses outside the realm of higher education.

“This is the first collaboration between an online platform and an internationally known organization like the IMF,” Agarwal said.

In 2012, the IMF, a global organization of 188 member countries, provided training to about 8,000 officials in five languages through its network of training centers.

The IMF’s Institute for Capacity Development chose financial programming -- its flagship course -- and debt sustainability analysis for the experimental online classes.

“We bring the latest in academics and research on macroeconomics and make it accessible through hands-on training,” Sharmini Coorey, the institute’s director, said in a phone interview. “The online option will enrich the face-to-face training and allow us to scale out the basic, introductory material,” she said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mary Camille Izlar in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lisa Wolfson at

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