Harshita Mann

Harshita Mann

After growing up in India, Harshita Mann came to Exeter to study her degree in Economics and Finance, graduating in 2009. A Masters in Economics followed, then, aged just 23 and realising that education was her calling, Harshita set up Lancers International School in India.

Now one of India’s top ten international schools, Lancers’ 1000 students are drawn from 35 nationalities. 250 underprivileged students receive free places and the school provides jobs for 300 local female teachers.

The success of the school - and the impact it has on the lives of its students and staff - is testament to the extraordinary dedication of Harshita and her team. But getting there hasn’t been without its struggles as she explains:

‘Setting up a School from scratch was extremely challenging. It completely stretched me as a person, but it definitely developed me as a leader.’

The school is about much more than teaching a curriculum – it’s about helping students become rounded and grounded individuals - with a strong emphasis on equality and recognizing everyone’s contribution. ‘My vision is to create an environment where all students become lifelong learners. I want to nurture them to become responsible and ethical citizens of the world, respectful towards people of all races and cultures.’ she says.

Harshita knows first-hand the power an education has, and she’s frustrated that it’s still not available to so many women across the world.

‘The pace of equality is slow. We still have millions of young girls who are not in education, and women in many parts of the world struggle with basic human rights.’

For Harshita giving all women access to education is the most important step we can take to achieve equality.

‘When you educate a girl, you educate a family, you educate a nation. It’s the best gift you could give to a child and the best investment for the future of our world.
Maternal and child mortality goes down, HIV goes down, violence against women goes down, what better way to improve our society?’

Harshita’s role model has always been her mother.

‘She’s always been my inspiration in life because she gave me the gift of education, which gave me my freedom. The person I am now - my courage, my ability to believe in myself – is all thanks to the kind of education I had.’

Harshita has clearly found her vocation in education and setting up the school has been very rewarding.
‘At the end of the day, being able to see and make a positive difference in children’s lives is hugely satisfying – I feel very lucky.’

She’s already achieved more in her 27 years than many do in a lifetime but there’s plenty more that Harshita has set her sights on:

‘I won’t stop here. I plan to set up more schools, providing quality education to children no matter what their background.’