Though below the surface, the Indian government is struggling to prevent business from entering the education sector, the two things are seldom associated. Education ideally should not be associated with an industry run by the profit motive. However, Forbes India has not shied from positively taking into account the business aspect of education. This year, it has named Dr Shahnaz Sirin Ahmed, as one in its list of globally recognized business leaders from India.

Dr Shahnaz Ahmed is the founder chairperson of Springdale High School in Jorhat, Assam. She has been the National President of Country Women Association of India (CWAI) for 3 consecutive terms, each of 10 years duration. It is after this that she started the Springdale High School where she promotes unconventional methods of learning and encourages thought beyond the textbook. She has also brought about a substantial difference in women and child education in the north-east through her dedicated efforts in the field of education, women empowerment etc.

Ahmed says that she has always been motivated to provide quality education to the youth, especially because she comes from a family of professors. Ahmad says that she started the Springdale High School, when she was just 32-33 years old, to educate children into becoming job creators rather than job seekers.

She says that being a woman from the northeast, she has had the advantage of being able to choose what she wanted to do. The north-eastern states are not patriarchal societies. Thus, even back in the day, when digital mediums, internet etc were not household things, she had got the opportunity to decide the course of her career.

She mentions that as the north-eastern society is free of certain evils like dowry etc, she has been able to take forward her dream of women empowerment smoothly. However, certain things like marriage at a particular age etc do hamper the educational goals of north-eastern girls. Ahmed is working hard to fight those.

In her school, Ahmed is more focused to develop the emotional quotient of every pupil along with their IQ. She takes out time from her packed schedule to interact with each student of her school as well as their parents. This is a reality even in the case of younger students. She tries to address each pupil’s problem with special attention.

On learning that she had made to the Forbes magazine list, Ahmed says that she is overwhelmed that her efforts at imparting quality education and bringing about gender equality in society have been recognized. She feels happy as this will encourage more and more educationists and social workers to do their bit.

Though Dr Shahnaz Ahmed is being called a “business leader” by Forbes India, for successfully running a school in a remote region of Assam, it is not profit that runs her! She is an entrepreneur dedicated to bringing a major change in society for north-eastern women. She said that the recognition has inspired her to strive for more and carry on her journey as a social activist along with being an entrepreneur. Ahmed is the first person from the north-eastern part of the country to have made in the Forbes list.

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