Naz Legacy Foundation launched
By Ahmed J Versi
L-R: Sadiq Khan, Princes Badiya, Portrait of Syed Nawawzish Bokhari, Rukshana Sheikh, Mike Chivers and Hina Bokhari
The Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP gave an inspirational speech to over 160 headteachers, teachers and educationalists from across the country at the Naz Legacy Foundation’s inaugural event on March 7.
Khan, former pupil of the late Naz Bokhari, said he was an “inspiration” for him and other students at Ernest Bevin College in south London.
“For me and other boys of my background it is difficult to explain the impact his appointment [as the Headteacher] had on us. To see the most senior job in the school being done by an excellent professional who also happened to be British, Asian, male and Muslim was a real source of inspiration to many of us.” Bokhari “always viewed himself as a teacher who was also a Muslim, rather than a ‘Muslim Teacher’,” said Khan. Bokhari “inspired us with his actions, and through the Naz Legacy Foundation his memory will be honoured,” he added.
Princess Badiya bint El Hassan of Jordan, who launched the Foundation, praised the work done by Bokhari. “Given what I heard about Syed Nawazish Bokhari, I am not at all surprised that his children would set up a foundation which is focused on continuing their fathers’ great work in the area of education and positive integration and that they going to support and encourage others who share these aims.”
In a video message to the launch, Education Minister, Sarah Teather, said she was “always incredibly impress by both by his focus on excellence and also his warmth and kindness. His work was characterised by his focus on excellence and focus on staff development, the key features that makes such a difference on attainment.”
Minister of Department of Work and Pensions, Rt Hon Chris Grayling, said at the launch that Bokhari made huge achievements in his life. “It takes something quite special to be a pathfinder in your community, to be the first person to break down barriers, to rise to top in your chosen profession and to be an inspiration to others who come after you – that was what Naz Bokhari achieved in this life.”
Chairman of Muslim Aid, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, who worked with Bokhari at the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) on education, said he was “a truly an inspirational figure” and “a pillar of strength during the early days of the formation of MCB ever ready to provide support .” Bokhari was the first Chair of MCB Education Committee. Sacranie said the launch of Naz Legacy is “most appropriate reflection to the memory of this wonderful personality.”
Bokhari’s daughter, Hina, said the Foundation aims to “promote excellence in education and positive integration into British Society through supporting key initiatives and charities within these sectors.”
Syed Nawazish Bokhari passed away on March 1, 2011 at the age of 73.
In 1985 he was appointed the first Muslim deputy head of a British secondary school and the first Muslim headmaster. At the time of retiring as Principal of Ernest Bevin College in Tooting, south London, he had taken the school from undersubscribed and underachieving to one of the most improved in the whole country.
He was appointed by the Secretary of State for Education as a council member of the General Teaching Council of England. His commitment to improve and encourage teaching excellence nationally led him to be appointed as a UK Judge of the Teaching Awards.
Bokhari was honoured with OBE in 2001 for his service to education.