Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center

Himalayas: Teaching & Learning

Taktse International School, Sikkim, India


Wherever you think the edge of the world is. We are four hours past that point.

The idea of Taktse International School was conceived in the winter of 2004 when a group of concerned Sikkimese gathered to discuss the problems confronting our society: the erosion of traditional values, the increasing number of alienated youth with little or no marketable skills, the growth of mass consumerism, the growing disparity in wealth, the degradation of environmental resources, and the impoverishment of ethical standards in public offices. Rapid development and the failure of the greater society to wisely manage the inevitable forces of change have exacerbated these problems over the years.

These challenges are particularly common in developing countries that are experiencing rapid modernization. Therefore, we wanted to create model school and community capable of producing the compassionate and ethical leaders that developing societies so desperately need.

The Challenge

We have built an amazing school and community in just seven years, but we need help. Our Taktse students, primarily from the hills (Indian's North East), face the larger Indian stigma of being bad at science and math. Of course this isn't true, but there is an aspect of self-fulfilling prophesy (and stereotype bias) at play.

We want students who love reading, math, science and life to come and help us design curriculum, help us make hands-on science joyful. MIT students will learn valuable cross-cultural skills, be immersed in a joyful learning community and be able to give back in a very substantive way. There are qualities that MIT students have, that our children will learn through osmosis.

We ask for a nominal fee of $100 per week to cover room and board. Sponsorships or scholarships may be available on a case by case basis. 

We are looking for students who can aid us in:

1. Design and implement curriculum for teaching computer programming languages as the second language (like French or Hindi in other schools) starting from first or second grade (why wait for high school or college?)
2. Design and implement a hands-on science museum integrated with the school (something like the Children's Discovery Museum in Acton), along with a mobile component (where our children can take the hands on science into the villages)
3. Implement the Elementary Engineering Curriculum developed by the Museum of Science
4. Design and implement a medical curriculum for elementary school (not unlike the Museum of Science curriculum, but focused on health monitoring, prevention and first aid)
5. Implement Khan Academy's "flipped classrooms" in our school.
6. Help us start a culture of Origami in Sikkim, first at the school and then in the larger community
7. Propose how you could best help us!

Qualifications, Preferences and Assets

The projects need English, humility and a strong work ethic.

Time Constraints

We invite students from MIT at all times of year.


Sherry Dickstein, MD
US-based Resource Fellow Coordinator

PKG Center Support

MIT students who develop projects around these ideas may apply for support from the Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center's Fellowships and Internships programs. Please check the program descriptions and deadlines and talk to program staff to determine which is most appropriate for your needs and project.

If you want to volunteer or you have funding from outside the PKG Center that enables you to work on this project, that's great! However, please do let us know if you work on a project you saw advertised here, even if you don't use our funds. And remember, the PKG Center staff are happy to advise on service projects even if we are not funding them ourselves.