With A Focus On The Future

The educational organisation’s pursuit for excellence is visible in every student

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Published: Mon 15 Aug 2022, 12:00 AM

GEMS Education is the oldest and, by far, the biggest private school provider in the UAE, the largest in the region, and one of the most prestigious and extensive in the world. Through GEMS-owned and managed schools globally, it educates no less than 170,000 students from over 176 countries and more than 270,000 students access GEMS education resources through its various educational and ancillary services. It is also proud of its diversity with multi-cultural teaching expertise drawn from 93 nations.

In the UAE alone, GEMS owns 43 schools offering first class education for its 124,000+ students here across the Indian, British, American and IB curricula at fee points to suit every pocket. Of these, 13 follow the Indian curriculum including GEMS Our Own English High School - Dubai and GEMS Our Own English High School - Al Warqa’a.

These schools grew from the very first school founded in the network in 1968. They were launched by KS Varkey and Mariamma Varkey who, nine years earlier, had ventured from their native Kerala to answer a national call from Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the then Ruler of Dubai, for teachers to help educate his people.

The inspirational pair had started teaching bank staff before taking on children and then establishing their own school. This prospered until 1980 when Sunny Varkey, their son, joined them in their mission to offer all children the chance to obtain a life-changing, quality education.

Under Varkey’s inspirational guidance and the full support of the national authorities, the network grew and grew over the following decades and was formalised as GEMS Education in the year 2000. It is founded on core values of respect, equality (global citizenship), leading through innovation and growing by learning, always pursuing excellence. GEMS believes that every child has genius within them and it is the school’s mission to find that unique ability and nurture it to the utmost.

Over the years, some 420,000 students have graduated from GEMS schools to the finest universities the world has to offer including every single Ivy League college in the United States and the Oxford and Cambridge universities in England.

Academic results have regularly comfortably beaten world averages — for example, IB passes from GEMS students hit 97 per cent in July, 8 per cent better than the global average. But GEMS Education schools by no means focus solely on academic success, prioritised though this is. It is the aim of each school to offer students a well-rounded education including recognising the importance of preserving the world around them.

An example of this is the GEMS Legacy School in Al Garhoud, which has won numerous global awards for the work of its staff and students in the vital area of sustainability.

As recently as June 2022, the school was placed in the top 10 schools in the world for Environment Action by the global campaigning network, T4 Education.

GEMS, through its philanthropic arm — The Varkey Foundation, also works to promote the value of teachers throughout the world and in 2015 launched the groundbreaking annual $1 Million Global Teacher Prize, highlighting the life-changing work that the educators carry out in every country.

GEMS’ future focus will continue to enhance its educational offering to its students, including through innovative technology, and build its unique GEMS For Life programme that continues to nurture and support its students long after they have left school.

This includes three distinct pillars comprising internship opportunities with some of the world’s leading companies, its university partnership programme with more than 160 of the world’s leading tertiary education institutions, and its alumni network of more than 420,000 former students, many of whom work for some of the world's leading blue chip companies.

The scheme will also offer benefits from the organisation’s award-winning loyalty programme, GEMS Rewards, that delivers savings across a range of services from restaurant dining and hotel stays to car rentals, insurance deals and wellness experiences. The schools, specifically those that follow the Indian curriculum, are proud of GEMS’ rich Indian heritage and the Independence Day on 15 August offers a wonderful opportunity to mark this with a variety of events and celebrations.

GEMS shares the Indian and UAE national leaderships’ vision for educated, ambitious and passionate future generations who together will take the countries forward to even greater successes.

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