‘If an opportunity is provided, there is nothing impossible for a woman to accomplish’, may be a cliché, however, it truly reflects the inspiring real story of an educationist par excellence, Baseema Aijaz, vice-chairperson of Shah Rasool Memorial Welkin Higher Secondary School Sopore. She is well known as an institutional builder and a woman widely acknowledged for her leadership role. Her leadership role was acknowledged when she was honoured with the ‘Global influential Education leader’ award on August 28, 2021. Even though Baseema has spent more than a decade in metropolitan city of Bengaluru in Karnataka, her childhood place had a profound impact which made her return to the valley and pursue a career where she had to wear multiple hats that of educationists as well as entrepreneur. Providing quality education to children from remote areas was not only challenging but she had to incorporate newer models of education. Her educational institution in north Kashmir’s Sopore area, SRM Welkin isn’t only providing quality education but is considered as one of the leading schools in Baramulla district. To know more about what changes she has brought into the current educational system of Kashmir, Rising Kashmir’s Reporter Syed Musqan had a one-on-one chat with the women educationist.
You have spent over a decade in Bengaluru. What made you come back?
As an individual, I am always against the brain drain. I have spent 13 years in Bengaluru but even though I was out for so long, I always longed for my own place. I always felt that if all of us are going to leave this society, who is going to give it back and what will happen to this place. Today, when I see my students from remote areas of North Kashmir excelling, I take that as an achievement, I feel like Almighty picked me up for making this difference in people's lives. I could never imagine myself leaving my roots. I left Kashmir when I was just 10 years old and came back when I was 23.
So after getting back in the year 2005 in the month of September, I formally joined Welkin. From there if I look at the journey, it has had its own ups and downs, it has had its own moments of joy and excitement.
Today I feel my life has no meaning without Welkin. The kind of gratification I get by spending time with my students, by getting new things implemented in the schools, by seeing the results of my students across boards, national examinations and other competitive examinations, the way my students have been placed in excellent organizations is unparalleled and at the same time the feeling of providing jobs to people be it in indirect or direct way and the feeling that Almighty Allah chose us as a facilitator for this gives us immense joy.
Did you face any hurdles as a woman entrepreneur?
I will not distinguish between a male and a female entrepreneur. I will not say that being a female I faced more, overall one has to struggle. There is no free lunch for anyone, all of us have our own ups and downs once we get into the public dealing. When I joined Welkin, from that day till now it has been 16 years and I see a lot of changes. There was a time when parents only cared about marks but now parents have changed and I'm so happy that I got the ICSE syllabus culture in North Kashmir and I can feel that a lot of students have benefitted from it and this gives me immense pleasure.
What are your future plans?
In 2007, we started with our VSAT classes and we were the second school in Kashmir after Burn Hall to do so. Whenever any new innovation took place in education, I think Welkin was the first one to adapt to it. We have a proper ERP solution in our system; we have our digital classrooms in place. Even during the pandemic, we really excelled and I'm especially thankful to my staff, the kind of hard work they put in to make education reach every doorstep.
We would definitely take Welkin to greater heights and we would like to see Welkin as an upcoming college. The scenario of education is changing in our district.
What is your message to young entrepreneurs?
My message would be that life is a struggle. Each one of us has to juggle. I always keep juggling between professional and personal life. One has to have that kind of stamina and will power and determination in achieving something and in achieving something one has to be selfless and that is the main thing. I personally believe when you want good for others, automatically good comes