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US Restricts Free Online Courses to Some Countries

  • VOA News

The U.S. education company Coursera, which offers free Internet-based classes in subjects ranging from Medicine and Mathematics to Business and Social Sciences, says it ‘regretably had to make changes’ to its accessibility in some countries.

Writing on its online blog, Coursera says that under certain U.S. export control regulations, it is prohibited from offering services to students in countries such as Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria, because of U.S. sanctions. It explains that as of this week, students from those countries will have restricted access to course pages.

Coursera’s classes are prepared in partnership with many of the world’s top universities and organizations, offering lectures by renowned scholars.

In an e-mail to VOA, a U.S. Treasury Department spokeswoman says the agency’s Office of Foreign Assets Control requires Coursera - and any U.S. entity involved in certain exchange programs - to seek a license in order to provide programs that benefit people in sanctioned countries.

OFAC says it will consider such requests in consultation with the U.S. State Department.

In its blog, Coursera says it is ‘working very closely’ with the State Department and the OFAC to reinstate access for students in countries under sanctions.
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