Yandex company blog

Our new initiative to train 500,000 teachers and 100,000 data specialists

We've always been passionate about education. It's critical for the world's leading tech companies, including Yandex, to create more opportunities for people to learn and grow. We have a central role to play in teaching people the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow. We have over a decade of experience creating academic initiatives that provide the necessary training for the most in demand careers.

We're excited to announce a new initiative to further advance our efforts to provide IT education and training to as many people as possible. Over the next three years, we will spend 5 billion rubles ($78 million) to dramatically expand our education programs in Russia. We plan to train 500,000 teachers and 100,000 IT specialists by 2022, and ultimately support almost every other teacher in Russia through our education programs. The 2022 graduates will join over 1 million people who have studied through our education projects across 85 regions in Russia.

Yandex students working on a project

"Dedicated, passionate teachers taught most of us at Yandex," says Elena Bunina, Director of HR and Educational Programs for Yandex. "This education initiative is an opportunity for us to give back to these educators and the rest of Russia's academic system. In today's world, what matters most is not data and algorithms, but the people who build them - their knowledge, experience, and unique ideas. Through our education programs, we want to give people the tools they need to build the companies and technologies of tomorrow."

To reach these goals, all of our education programs and partners will benefit from increased resources. Partnerships have been a critical part of our education platforms, and they will continue to serve a central role in the new, three-year initiative. We plan to work even more closely with academic institutions like schools and universities to achieve our goal of training hundreds of thousands of teachers and learners. Teachers will benefit from more resources and training, and learners of all ages will have greater access to our programs.

Increased support for primary school teachers and students

Teachers play a central role in education, and we're always eager to support them with the resources to build a productive learning environment. Yandex.Textbook is a central part of how we do this. Started in 2018, Yandex.Textbook is our main platform for supporting primary school students and educators in Russia. Currently, over 50,000 teachers use Yandex.Textbook as an online learning supplement for their 1st through 4th grade students in math and Russian language. Through the free platform, teachers can assign tasks, prepare lessons, and check homework. With Yandex.Textbook, we help make school more fun for students, while providing teachers with an intuitive resource that keeps their students engaged with the lesson.

As part of this new education initiative, we will dramatically increase the reach of Yandex.Textbook. Over the next three years, we plan to increase the material available through Yandex.Textbook tenfold. Whereas now lessons are available in math and Russian, soon teachers will be able to offer engaging activities in natural science, foreign languages, and computer science. We will also extend the reach of Yandex.Textbook through senior year, so students in all stages of grammar school can use Yandex.Textbook.

The planned expansion of Yandex.Textbook will help us reach a much greater number of primary and secondary students in Russia, as well as support more teachers in creating engaging lesson plans.

Expanding Yandex.Textbook is just one of the ways we're helping support teachers in our new education initiative. Working with higher education institutions, we will also provide training for up to 500,000 teachers and teaching students as part of a new program called "I am a Teacher." Through "I am a Teacher," educators will learn how to use new technologies and teaching software that help create an interactive learning environment. The initiative to train half a million teachers through higher education centres is an exciting new step in our academic partnerships.

Train 100,000 IT specialists

With our support of primary school teachers, we're helping create learning environments across Russia that prepare students for data science studies. Starting from the secondary school years and continuing into adulthood, Yandex offers several ways for learners to study computer science. Our programs help people build their data skills at every stage of their professional career.

This new education initiative will include expanding the scale of our current programs. By 2022, we ultimately plan to train 100,000 new IT specialists in Russia of every age, including:

  • 30,000 students through our free network of Yandex.Lyceum sites, which teach 8th and 9th graders beginner programming skills.
  • 20,000 students from our programs with higher education institutions, such as the Faculty of Computer Science we co-founded at Moscow's Higher School of Economics.
  • 50,000 learners via Yandex.Practicum, our online continuing education program for people looking to reorient their career to data science. Launched earlier this year, Yandex.Practicum is one of our newest programs and we're excited to help it grow as part of this new initiative. We also plan to launch Yandex.Practicum for those outside Russia as part of our goal to reach as many learners as possible.

One of our first education programs, the Yandex School of Data Analysis (YSDA), will also benefit from this three-year education initiative. YSDA is our free Masters-level program in machine learning and data science. By 2022, YSDA will train over 600 more experts in areas such as computer vision and natural language processing. They will join over 700 data scientists who have graduated from YSDA since we established the program in 2007. YSDA will receive new resources that include research laboratories established at partner universities, as well as the means to stage scientific conferences to promote an exchange of learning. We also hope to partner with more foreign institutions and organizations to open new YSDA branches, similar to our program at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

This three-year initiative will ultimately help us train a new generation of data scientists. Through our education platforms, people will be better prepared for the most in demand careers by having the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow. Our graduates will also continue to help advance the fields of data science and machine learning by applying their skills and expertise at institutions and private organizations around the world.

Stayed tuned for more updates on the ways we're taking our education programs to new heights!