In 1959, two teachers, KS Varkey and his wife Mariama arrived in Dubai, at the time a burgeoning trade centre on the Arabian Gulf. The Varkey family had left Kerala, India to seek a better life for their family. What they found was a real need to educate children arriving in the city from around the world.
Their son, Sunny, added a visionary’s ambition to a practitioner’s experience. From simple roots in a family of teachers, GEMS Education is today an international company with schools and education services in more than 13 countries. We still share the same mission – to provide quality education to everyone.
GEMS Education, the parent company of GEMS (Singapore), runs a global network of award-winning international schools in Europe, North America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. We educate over 174,000 students from 175 countries and employ 20,000 education professionals, specialists and staff from over 80 countries. From humble beginnings, we have grown into an internationally recognised name with a global reach and reputation, with offices in New York, London, Singapore, Delhi and Dubai.
In January 2010, GEMS Education marked its Golden Jubilee with a commitment to improving the quality and accessibility of education for the less fortunate worldwide. This was our primary motivation in setting up the Varkey Foundation, our philanthropic arm. The Varkey Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving conditions in education on many fronts. We also partner with like-minded organisations such as UNESCO, Oxfam and Dubai Cares on various projects such as training teachers in economically challenged areas to lift the overall standards of education; building classrooms and rebuilding schools to provide a safe learning environment for children in Pakistan and Kenya; creating low cost, highly replicable science centres in rural India; providing mid-day school meals to children whose families are unable to afford them.
The Global Teacher Prize is a USD 1 million award that is presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession. The philanthropic prize is donated by the Varkey Foundation and serves to underline the importance of educators and the fact that, throughout the world, their efforts deserve to be recognised and celebrated. It seeks to acknowledge the impacts of the very best teachers, not only on their students but on the communities around them.