Transnational educator

EducationWorld November 2018 | Education World People

Mehran Akhtarkhavari is director of the Hiranandani Upscale School, Chennai (HUS, estb.2011) promoted by Surendra Hiranandani, founder-managing director of the Mumbai-based House of Hiranandani, a big name in real estate development. Sited within a major Hiranandani housing complex on Old Mahabalipuram Road, this is a class I-XII IB school providing the primary, middle years and diploma programmes of the Hague/Geneva-based International Baccalaureate examination board to its 250 students mentored by 43 teachers.

Newspeg. On September 29, HUS was awarded #7 national rank in the Emerging High Potential Schools category of the Grand Jury Awards at the EducationWorld India School Rankings Awards Nite 2018-19 staged in New Delhi. HUS was felicitated as a newly-promoted, low profile school demonstrating high potential to quickly adopt and integrate 21st century best practices.

“Children need to acquire skills that will prepare them for the complex world of the future. Our priority is to guide them in their future endeavours. The IB curriculum is in tune with our mission to enable holistic development of students, help them acquire a broad range of cognitive, collaborative, communication and creativity skills and a global mindset to prepare them to become model citizens of India and the world,” says Akhtarkhavari.

History. Born in India of Iranian parentage and schooled in New Era High, Panchgani, Akhtarkhavari is an alum of the Fort Hays State University, Kansas and Chapman University, California. He began his teaching career in 1992 at the Rialto High School, California and rose to the office of principal (2005-2008). In 2008, he was appointed head of school of the International School of Lusaka, Zambia (2008-10) followed by a year as director of the Townshend International School in the Czech Republic. In 2011, he returned to Zambia following his appointment as principal of the Banani International School (2011-14). In 2014, he came back to India as founding-director of Kohinoor American School, Khandala (Maharashtra) and was appointed director of HUS in 2017.

Direct talk. “The distinguishing feature of HUS is our shift from outcome-based to child-driven inquiry-based learning. We are committed to broadening our students’ co-curricular education through high-quality fine arts, performing arts and languages proficiency. To this end our teachers enjoy freedom to introduce classroom innovations and groom students to become responsible citizens of the world,” says Akhtarkhavari.

Future plans. Sited on a three-acre green campus, HUS also offers a wide range of sports options with facilities for basketball, football, cricket, tennis, volleyball, athletics and swimming in partnership with the Mumbai-based Sports Ignite and through special academies for football and cricket training. “We aspire to excel as an institution committed to continuous innovation, teaching our students to adapt and succeed in the tech-driven work environments of the future,” says Akhtarkhavari.

Hemalatha Raghupathi (Chennai)

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