Society for Integrated Development of Himalayas


Education is not just literacy; textbooks are a means not an end; education is not only about getting a job - it is about being able to lead a happy and meaningful life. 

In many ways, contemporary education has trapped us all in a set of unquestionable assumptions, which has led to frustration and unhappiness. In the world-view that is now dominant, there are only narrow definitions for 'development,' 'progress,' 'education, 'science' and 'modern'. Space for diversity is not really thought-oriented, but limited to craft melas, cultural shows and food festivals.

We feel it is important to challenge these assumptions and definitions. Notions about who is 'civilised', who is 'backward' or what is 'scientific' need to be viewed afresh. It is only then that we can have a Drishti (दृष्टि), a true perspective, of our society and its knowledge systems.

The Indian education system is a legacy of the colonial rule, and its overall framework has remained the same even 60 years after independence. This system impels the students to unthinkingly and unquestioningly accept the dominant world-view. It makes the youth dependent on the "other" for information, ideas, knowledge, understanding and decisions.

Such a "system" does not teach or encourage 'how' to think, but tells the student 'what' to think.

Such a 'utilitarian' mode of education sees its role as only making a person literate and equipping him or her with job-oriented skills. In contrast, the 'classical' view sees the role of education as the development of an individual beyond that required by his civic or vocational role. We at SIDH subscribe to the classical view and believe that education should not only help an individual acquire knowledge about self, society and environment but also help him or her to lead a happy life.

NGOs have a critical role to play in challenging dominant mindsets. There are many people, thinkers and activists who are trying to bring about fundamental changes in the education system. Our journey at SIDH, especially over the last few years, has really been about negotiating spaces, so as to help us in our search for relevant education.

Do join us.

SIDH works in the field of education, and mainly targets children, youth, teachers & local community.

SIDH is a partly funded organisation, moving towards financial independence.

SIDH activities include running schools, teachers training, workshops, youth programmes, research projects and publishing.

Bir Conference Oct 2011 Organised jointly by SIDH

SIDH - Finding Purpose in Education

January 2012:

Pawan Gupta’s speech on literacy vs. education at Patanjali Yogpeeth, Haridwar.