GEMS forays 
into higher 

(Muaz Shabandri)
Filed on June 4, 2014

Varkey Group will open full-fledged campus in three to five years

Prominent educationalist Sunny Varkey is now setting his sights on getting into higher education with a new investment to allow easier transition of students from schools to universities.

Varkey Group, the holding company of GEMS Education, announced the acquisition of a 39 per cent minority stake in AHC GCC Investment (AHC) to enter the fast-growing higher education segment in Dubai and the UAE.

In a media statement, Sunny Varkey, chairman of the group, said, “Our foray into higher education is a natural extension of our current strength in K-12 education through GEMS schools in the region.”

AHC is the holding company of International Horizons College which was launched in 2013 as a college offering pathways to top-ranked universities in the US and regionally.

Through IHC, students can pursue a wide range of courses and careers from business and engineering to liberal arts and the social sciences, and this provides an ideal platform to bring some of the leading brands in global higher education to the UAE.

Elaborating on the deal, C. N. Radhakrishnan, senior executive director and head of the chairman’s office at GEMS Education, told Khaleej Times, “Varkey Group is a major shareholder in GEMS Education and we have been contemplating entry into tertiary education given the large number of students graduating from our schools every year.”

He added, “We know the potential presented in higher education. Eventually, we will develop a full-fledged campus in the next three to five years, where we will offer reputed university brands.”

GEMS Education has schools in 14 countries, with over 142,000 students. The company works with governments, donor agencies and private clients to improve education systems, and provides vital training for young people in an increasingly competitive world.

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