Lifteime Achievement in Education Leadership Award 2019: Nissar Ahmed

EducationWorld October 2019 | Pictorial Essay

Nissar Ahmed


Nissar Ahmed, chairman of the Bangalore-based Presidency Group of Institutions (PGI) which comprises seven K-12 schools, two pre-university colleges, one undergraduate arts, science and commerce college and Presidency University with an aggregate enrollment of 30,000 students mentored by 1,000 faculty members, has emerged as one of the most respected education entrepreneurs of the southern seaboard state of Karnataka (pop. 64 million).

Currently, PGI’s seven globally benchmarked CISCE/CBSE-affiliated day schools provide high-quality K-12 education to 15,000 students, including 6,000 girl children. PGI’s flagship CISCE-affiliated Presidency School, R.T. Nagar (PSRTN, estb.1980) is ranked among Bangalore’s Top 10 co-ed day schools in the EW India School Rankings 2019-20 with five others ranked among the Top 50 in Karnataka.

Nissar Ahmed had a difficult childhood. His mother passed away when he was only a year old and he was raised by his grandfather, a lawyer, and homemaker grandmother in Mangalore. In 1970, Nissar moved to Bangalore for higher secondary schooling and to help his uncle Abdul Hameed who had started a nursery school with a modest investment of Rs.10,000 and eight students. Four years later, his uncle passed away and Nissar had to drop out of college to take charge of the school. Since then, the school has evolved into PGI’s flagship Presidency School, R.T. Nagar.

After having upgraded PSRTN into a globally benchmarked K-12 school and promoting two pre-university colleges and Presidency College in 2000, Ahmed set his sights on establishing PGI as an end-to-end KG-Ph D education by upgrading the arts, commerce and business management college into a university. After 13 years of painstaking institution development, the Karnataka state legislative assembly enacted the Presidency University Act, 2013, following which the university admitted its first batch of 625 students in 2015. Since then, aggregate enrolment in Presidency University has ballooned to nearly 10,000 students. In the latest EW India Private University Rankings 2019-20, Presidency University is ranked among the country’s Top 100 private varsities and #11 in Karnataka.

Moreover in 2017, Ahmed registered the Presidency Foundation which provides free-of-charge vocational education to school dropouts and unemployed youth from socio-economically weaker sections. In 2018-19, the foundation awarded scholarships and grants valued at Rs.8 crore to underprivileged but meritorious students.

Looking back on his 43 years of experience in preschool to Ph D education provision, Ahmed says it has been an “emotionally satisfying journey”. “I could have done more to develop the country’s abundant human capital, had government policies been in favour of educationists and edupreneurs for establishing education institutions.

Nevertheless, I am optimistic about the future because things are gradually changing for the better,” says Ahmed.
For his persistent efforts to provide affordable gender egalitarian preschool-Ph D education to Karnataka and India’s children and for the inclusive culture he has infused in the Presidency Group of Institutions, the Board of Directors and Editors of EducationWorld are proud to present Nissar Ahmed the EW Lifetime Achievement in Education Leadership Award 2019 and induct him into the EW Hall of Fame of Indian Education.

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