Your Name: Harshi Sehmar
Job Title: Director, The Village International Education Centre
What is your nationality and background?
I was born in India and moved to the UK when I was nearly 5.
What is your profession?
I completed a B.Ed in education at university and then went on to be an education officer for a local authority in London, working in learning support departments at comprehensive schools in London, teaching and setting up learning support departments in two international schools, and now I am the director of two schools.
What are the key skills and responsibilities of this role?
In my current role as director, one of my most important skills is being able to adapt quickly to the needs of our students and parents. I also need to be a good listener and approachable for my staff.
How did you get involved in your profession?
My involvement stems from my own leaning disability (dyslexia). It just took one teacher, who said, you can do it and insisted that I take extra classes in the evenings. When I gained the qualifications to get into a university, there was only one thing on my mind – become a special needs teacher and try and help as many children as I can.
How does your role enhance the wellbeing or experience of children?
With the hard work of my team, we have created a learning environment that is conducive to the needs of all our students. Every child matters at The Village and we take a child centred approach to ensure all their needs are met. Our students have the opportunity to learn in an inclusive environment that is safe, with specialists who care deeply and fight for them to have the same rights as every other child.
What challenges do your face in this role?
The challenges are vast, from financial to cultural and planning for the future. One of our biggest objectives is breaking down the barriers in society for young people with special educational needs.
What do you hope to achieve within your industry?
I want complete inclusion for the students we have in mainstream schools – even though it would be the end of The Village, it is where these kids deserve to be.
Who or what inspires you?
I was very fortunate to have a teacher at school who took the extra time and attention to really help me. I am dyslexic and was labelled as a “no hoper” at school until a teacher came who knew how to help me and the others in my group. This wonderful teacher went on to become the first teacher to be the education minister in the UK.
Only a Bangkok local would know …
The best place to have a drink with free entertainment is Cheap Charlie’s Soi 11. Every Friday night at about 9.30pm, local street acts perform in the little soi and there’s a great atmosphere with all different bars.
For more information on The Village, and its multi-faceted learning platforms, please visit www.village-education.com.