TAHA ZAMIR HUSSAIN CEO – Nordic International School-Pakistan

EVOLVE: Please share rundown of yourprofessional background with us?

Taha Zamir Hussain: I have been working in the education sector for over a decade now. Since I completed my degree of Chartered Certified Accountancy in 2009, I have taken up appointments as ACCA lecturer at Barnet
College, London, Head of Internal Audit at SKANS School of Accountancy Lahore, Business Development Manager at University of Central Punjab Lahore, Chief Operating Officer at FGS Eduventures (Pvt) Ltd Faisalabad and
presently as the Chief Executive Officer at Glocal EduProject (Pvt) Ltd Lahore. My past experiences have led me to develop great passion for initiating and sustaining business alliances to yield better results. And it is because of this
passion that our new venture Nordic International School is so close to my heart.

EVOLVE: First of all, the most importantquestion besides a Chartered Certified Accountant,WHY EDUCATION and why notany other sector?

Taha Zamir Hussain: Education is the key for any country to achieve consistent and sustainable growth. Particularly for a developing country like Pakistan, quality education can prove to be a real game-changer in improving economy in the long-run. When I say quality education, I mean not just emphasizing on citizens to get
educational qualifications, but also focusing on true learning according to international standards. The government should obviously be very vigilant and proactive in this regard. However, we as responsible citizens should duly play our part as well. I like to believe that I am contributing in my own little way as much as I can, to bring this greater change in the future, InshaAllah.

EVOLVE: Kindly guide our readers aboutNordic International School. What is yourphilosophy and how will you make the difference?

Taha Zamir Hussain: Nordic International School is a joint venture between NordicEd in Sweden and the Group of Saigols in Pakistan. We are starting our first campus for Early and Primary Years in September 2017. The school
offers a blend of International Early Years Curriculum (IEYC) and International Primary Curriculum (IPC) with the Local Curriculum for local subjects. NIS philosophy encompasses around five major aspects. Firstly, we are a truly international school. This means that we are not only part of a global network of sister schools, but our curriculum and leadership team is also based on international standards and resources. Secondly, we are a research-based school as we emphasize on our teachers training and their international networks to provide them with skills and knowledge in current best practice. Next, we focus on giving personal individual attention to each child in the classroom. We recognize that just because each child has a different pace and a way of learning, it does not mean that he/she cannot excel. Fourthly, we prepare our students to become successful leaders not only in their current environment, but also in the global world. Lastly, we emphasize on our students to have strong local anchorage with their own roots and culture, as we do not want them to become expats in their own country. By reflecting these philosophies in our teaching methods, we aim to provide a unique learning program in classrooms for our students.

EVOLVE: What do you think will be thecore secret of your growth in Pakistan?

Taha Zamir Hussain: I see great potential of growth for Nordic International School. I believe, that the most important strength we have is our very clear understanding of NIS philosophy and its reflection in not just our curriculum, but also in our leadership team, faculty, school building and operations and everything associated with Nordic International School. In addition, Nordic International School is uniquebecause it brings together all the best practices from around the world, while recognizing best practices in its own country as well.

EVOLVE: What is the biggest obstacle/s you havecome across in your professional roller coaster

Taha Zamir Hussain: The hardest thing for me in my professional life was to leave UK and come back to work in Pakistan. I had never worked in Pakistan before and didnt think I would fit in well. However, once I started working here, I got to learn and achieve a lot. Although, there are frequent changes and amendments in policies that are extremely difficult to cope with, we are moving in a better direction and there is much hope economically for Pakistan in the coming few years. My experience eventually turned out to be tremendous and I am glad I faced this obstacle of moving to Pakistan, because I learned that things work out for the best if you give it time and persistence.

EVOLVE: How are you managing and planningyour school system as right now education, unfortunately,has become a business with a heavy returnrather a social service as we observed at our times?

Taha Zamir Hussain: I agree that the education fee and charges have increased a lot over past few years, but so has the quality of education. We cannot ignore the fact that quality comes with a price. However, at NIS we try to find a perfect balance between quality and its cost. We also plan to start some scholarships or funded programs for deserving students from humble backgrounds in the future.

EVOLVE: What kind of culture do you aim tomaintain at your school system and how would you
throw light in its significance?

Taha Zamir Hussain: We are an international school with strong local anchorage to our culture, and we would like to see the same reflection in our schools culture as well. Moreover, we want to give our students a platform where they can learn and grow through knowledge and understanding. We dont believe in setting boundaries or teaching on white boards only, because that only restricts childrens creativity.

EVOLVE: How do you communicate yourorganizationsvision to each employee?

Taha Zamir Hussain: Each staff member who joins Nordic International School is introduced to our philosophy.
We ensure that our employees not only know about our vision, but understand its importance and significance in daily tasks as well. The faculty, in particular, goes through rigorous training program before the start of the term as well as during the term. Our professional development program is designed to train them on weekly basis to ensure compliance to our vision.

EVOLVE: Where do you see yourself and your organizationin next 5-10 years?

Taha Zamir Hussain: We plan to open two more NIS campuses in Lahore in next two years (one primary and one secondary). We would then be opening similar chain of campuses in Islamabad and Karachi as well. So, hopefully in 5-10 years we can have NIS in three major cities of the country.

EVOLVE: Any message for the readers of EVOLVE?

Taha Zamir Hussain: Lets all try to do our bit in making this country a better place, not just for ourselves but
for our fellow citizens too. Help each other and youll see that there is no greater joy in life than that.