Our city of Varanasi, also known as Banaras or Kashi, is located on the bank of the Ganges River at the one place the river flows north. With archeological evidence dating over 4000 years, it is said to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. It is famous for its silk saris, its many famous musicians, and its history as an educational and spiritual center. Hindus, who make up the large majority of residents here, believe that death in Kashi guarantees release from the cycle of life and death.
It's a crowded place. Our state, Uttar Pradesh, is smaller than South Korea; yet, if it were a country, would be the fifth most populous in the world. Varanasi, with over one million people, a population density of 43,500 people per square mile (16,800/ sq km). Compare that with New York City (28,052/sq mile or 10,831/sq km) or London (14,290/sq mile or 5,518/sq km). About 150,000 residents live in slums, largely populated by those who have moved to the city in search of work or better education for their children.
According to Hiroshi Sasaki, in his report School Choice and Divided Primary Education: Case Study of Varanasi, UP State, India,the overall state of education in Varanasi is ... not good. However, private schools outperform government schools. In government schools [the only option for most of our students since they cannot afford private schools], many teachers fail to come to class or to teach children. Government schools often lack basic equipment such as blackboards. Private schools vary in quality, with the most expensive conducting lessons in English (seen as a key to children's success) and having computers in classrooms.
By hiring caring and diligent teachers and building a strong English and computer program, we try to provide our underprivileged children with the same quality education available to upper class children in Varanasi.