Education in India

Education in India

Education in India is different from education in the United States. Children who attend school go in one of two shifts, either in the morning or the afternoon. However, there is a lack of good teachers in the public schools, and there can be between 45 and 60 students per class. That means children who get their education in India often do not receive the individual attention they need to excel academically.

India East India's Urban Plains

The Location


The Population


The Religion


The Weather

  • The lack of sanitation, typical in this region’s crowded slums, is a major hazard to children’s health. East India road near slum homes
  • Compassion-assisted children regularly receive school materials and hygiene supplies, such as soap and toothpaste. This benefit lifts a big financial burden off their parents. East India girls standing in line
  • Homes in the slums do not have plumbing, and the job of collecting water from community taps usually falls to women and children. East India girls getting water
  • At their Compassion center these children, practicing the steps of a traditional dance, are encouraged to develop their talents and creativity. East India girls dancing
  • At their Compassion centers, older children have the opportunity to learn basic computer skills. East India girls at computer
  • Rickshaws are a common form of transportation in the cities. East India bike taxi

Overview: Eastern India's Urban Plains

The urban centers of eastern India are culturally diverse, home to people from different ethnic groups, such as the Bengalis, Biharis and Oriyas. The rapidly developing cities — with shopping malls, supermarkets and high-rise apartments — attract people from rural areas seeking jobs and a better way of life. Sadly, their lives in the cities are typically worse.

Hinduism is the primary religion practiced in this region, but there are minor followings of Islam, Christianity and Jainism. The small population of indigenous tribal people is mainly animist, worshiping nature.

Eastern India’s plains region lies in the humid-subtropical climate zone, and its hottest months are from March to June. The annual monsoon occurs from July to October, and the winter months, November to February, are mild.

The heavy, sustained rainfall during the monsoon months often leads to flooding in the urban centers and an increase in disease from water contaminated by sewage. People who live near the Bay of Bengal also are vulnerable to the frequent cyclones.


Culture Corner

east india urban plains culture

(baked eggplant)

Try this simple dish, enjoyed by children in the urban centers on the eastern Indian plains.


Bake an eggplant in the oven until it is fully cooked and the meat is soft. Remove the meat from the peel and mash it. Add a little oil, finely chopped onion, chopped green chile peppers, coriander and salt to taste. Serve with toasted pita bread pieces.


Here are a few phrases you can use when writing to your sponsored child in eastern India.

Twom kaisay ho?
How are you?
(Hindi language)

Aapnar poribare kay kay aachay?
Who are the members of your family?
(Bengali language)

Aami aapnar jonno prattekdin prarthona kori.
I pray for you often.
(Bengali language)


Life in Eastern India's Urban Plains

The plains of eastern India cover areas in the states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha (formerly known as Orissa) and West Bengal. In this region, the rapidly growing urban centers attract people from the countryside with the promise of jobs and a better way of life. However, typically unskilled and uneducated, poor migrants settle in sprawling slums and work at such low-paying jobs as pulling rickshaws or serving as housemaids.

Slum homes are made from whatever scrap materials can be found. Often accommodating large families, these fragile dwellings provide little protection from eastern India’s annual monsoon rains. Most homes in this region lack such basic services as running water and sanitation. Some children have access to electricity at home for which their families have to pay a fee every month.

The urban centers’ slums are home to a wide diversity of cultures and ethnicities. However, the majority of residents practice Hinduism.

Children at Home

The shantytowns in the plains urban centers consist of makeshift dwellings made from scrap materials, including bamboo, mud, cardboard, plastic sheets — whatever can be found. These small, fragile one-room dwellings are home to families averaging six to 10 people. Typically, several families share one toilet. People in shanties along the sidewalks or under overpasses use the gutters as toilets, causing a terrible health hazard, particularly for children.


Community Issues and Concerns east india urban plains community

The majority of the working poor in the urban centers are unskilled laborers — rickshaw pullers, construction workers, house maids, fruit and vegetable vendors, etc. However, these jobs pay the equivalent of only $1 to $4 per day. Unable to pay for their children’s school needs, parents often send them out to beg on the streets.

Often the poor who have moved from rural areas to find work in the cities find themselves living in shanties on the sidewalks, beneath overpasses, in dumpsites, or along railroad tracks. The unsanitary living conditions in these shantytowns put children’s health at great risk. Commonly, children suffer from such preventable diseases as hepatitis and malaria, but their families can’t afford medical assistance.

For believers and their churches in this region, another serious issue is the rising level of persecution from Hindu extremists. Many churches and homes have been destroyed and lives threatened. Also, the anti-government Naxalite group often employs violent tactics, including landmines and bombs, which terrorize the region’s citizens.

Local Needs and Challenges

Children living in the urban centers of eastern India’s plains region have many urgent needs. Because of deep poverty children often work, sometimes at extremely hazardous jobs, to help improve their families’ economic situation. Urban children also commonly deal with chronic malnutrition and diseases caused by the lack of clean water and adequate sanitation. But when children get sick, parents cannot afford to seek medical help. Because of India’s rigid caste system, sometimes the impoverished, low-caste children suffer from discrimination.


Schools and Education east india urban plains education

Educational levels in this region’s urban centers vary, depending on financial status. Adults in poverty are often illiterate and prefer to have their children working rather than going to school.

Children who attend school go in one of two shifts, either in the morning or the afternoon. However, there is a lack of good teachers in the public schools, and there can be between 45 and 60 students per class. That means children often do not receive the individual attention they need to excel academically.

At the Compassion Child Development Center

At Compassion-assisted child development centers in eastern India’s urban plains region, children receive the one-on-one attention from the staff that they lack in their schools. Extra tutoring helps them achieve standard academic milestones, and balanced meals help them avoid malnutrition. The children also learn good hygiene habits to keep themselves healthy. Most important, they have the opportunity to learn about God’s love.


Working Through the Local Church

Compassion believes that God’s purposes on Earth are accomplished through the church – including His purpose of bringing justice and mercy to the world’s poor and oppressed. That’s why in eastern India, as in every country where Compassion’s ministry is found, our program is carried out through local churches.

Our partner churches in eastern India are on the front lines, reaching into their communities to serve impoverished children and families. After all, who better than the local church understands the real needs of the people in its community?

It is our privilege and blessing to work alongside these committed partner churches in eastern India, encouraging, empowering and equipping them to meet children’s needs, all because of God's love.

How Compassion Works in India east india urban plains compassion in india

Compassion’s work in India began in 1968 and in eastern India in 2002. Currently, more than 56,500 children participate in 233 child development centers in eastern India.

Compassion partners with local churches, helping them provide Indian children with a long-term program of physical, educational, social and spiritual development. Through this partnership between Compassion and local churches, children in need have the opportunity to rise above their circumstances and fulfill their God-given potential.

The Role of a Partnership Facilitator

As the link between Compassion and the partner churches operating our program, Partnership Facilitators play an important role. In eastern India, one of these dedicated staff members is Rupesh. Previously, Rupesh worked at a local church’s Compassion center. So he knows well the challenges partner churches face in providing the best program possible for the children they serve.

Rupesh has a big heart for eastern India’s children in need. He meets regularly with the staff members of the centers under his care, addressing any issues they have and guiding them in improving their ministry. And when he is back in the Compassion office, he spends time with other Partnership Facilitators, sharing ideas and encouraging each other in their important work.


Prayer Requests

  • Pray for the health of children living in unsanitary conditions in urban shantytowns.
  • Pray that parents will understand the importance of education and encourage their children to attend school.
  • Pray for the protection of children and their families from flooding, cyclones and other natural disasters.
  • Pray for the end to persecution in this region by Hindu extremists.
  • Pray for Compassion child development center staff members, who diligently strive to meet the needs of the children in their care.