Project DEFY


“There is no problem with education. Education, as we know it, is the problem. Its purpose was to create a non-thinking working force to fill the factories in the time of Industrial Revolution, and it made sense. Now, since it’s not working anymore we try to fix it. But the truth is that it’s not broken, it’s obsolete and irrelevant.”

“The educational system of India (and many others in developing countries) discourages students’ critical thinking and forces them to remain in a box, repressed and often drugged. Today’s education leads us to choose among the fields that interest those who control education and the market, with the prospect of being ’employable’. It doesn’t consider personal motivations nor individual potential.”

“Four years ago, I started @ProjectDEFY. We help communities to create their own schools where learning occurs naturally and information is freely available. We don’t want education to be a simple transfer of instruction, rather a process of self-discovery and understanding of the local and global environment.” Abhijit Sinha, founder and director of the project, calls these schools ‘Nooks’ -spaces that offer a sense of security where there are no teachers or exams.


“Self-learning works. We have proven it with seven Nooks in two countries, where people have shown not only that they are capable of learning for themselves, but also that their own education can be entrusted to them. Nowadays, our education is decided by others and it is not in our control. DEFY envisions to bring education back into the hands of the people, so they can create a life of their own choosing, and not one that is decided for them by the market.”

#funfact: Nook in Hindi is Nukkad (नुक्कड़), which refers to the corner of the street where people gather in their free time.
Picture credits to Joseph Pisani