From Barely Speaking Any English to Becoming the Principal of West Nottinghamshire College, UK


There are many girls in India who are deprived of the basic right to education. However, given a chance, nobody knows the capabilities of every being. This is the story of Asha Khemka and is a very prominent example of it.

Asha is the CEO and principal of West Nottinghamshire College which is one of the largest colleges in the UK. She recently won the Asian Businesswoman of the Year award in Birmingham, UK.

In the past 30 years, Asha as an educationist has worked with and known to influence many people in the UK. In 1978, it is notable that when Asha came to England with her family she could barely speak any English. She had not completed her basic school education.

She is from Sitamarhi district in Bihar. She only went to school until she was 13. In the interior regions of India, girls are more likely to be taken out of schooling. Sometimes there can be reasons that are followed by the whole community such as cutting out schooling after reaching puberty but most of the times there are no reasons at all.

When she turned 25 years old, she already was married and had three kids. Almost 40 years ago, Asha along with her husband and kids had come to the UK having absolutely no clue about the place.

Asha was a hardworking woman and she had a passion for learning. In the beginning, she started out learning English with the help of the TV shows and by talking to other young mothers like herself. Ultimately her passion for learning and education influenced her to get a business degree from Cardiff University.

She had begun working as a lecturer. In 2006, she became the principal and CEO of West Nottinghamshire College. By 2013, she was awarded the Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, which is one of the UK’s top civilian recognitions. It is the female equivalent of knighthood. Asha is the second woman from the Indian origins to have obtained it.

Asha considers the recognition as very humbling. Her passion for education keeps growing day by day and she is extremely proud of the sector. She is a British citizen now, however, she still plans to extend her services to India as well. She plans to bring alterations to the Indian educational system by giving more importance to skill development and overall improving the quality of education.

(Photo Credit: AaoBihar, Youtube, Patnabeats, Vision West Nottinghamshire College)