Founded in 1969 by Sunny Varkey, the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Education Partnerships, GEMS Education today has schools across nine countries with around 1,42,000 students enrolled, representing over 150 nationalities.
It has partnered with UNESCO to organise teacher training programmes with an aim to raise the teaching standards in developing countries. Its philanthropic arm, the Varkey GEMS Foundation, joined hands with UNESCO to hone the leadership skills of around 10,000 school principals from India, Ghana and Kenya.
Four main things form the value chain at GEMS – world citizenship, universal values, leadership and forward thinking. These help the students develop various attributes like a global perspective, the ability to recognise and respect diversity, an entrepreneurial spirit and a flexible mind capable of questioning and adapting.
GEMS launched a parental engagement programme in 2009 with an aim to enhance students’ performance. Through this, the institute ensures parents’ participation in a child’s teaching and learning process, and provides assistance to help them take up the ‘3-a-day’ approach successfully at home – talk about learning, share learning and encourage learning.
Seven of GEMS’s campuses also have a GEMS Music Academy (GMA). It provides an opportunity to all children who are six years old or above, to learn music and play a variety of instruments like cello, guitar, oboe, piano, violin, saxophone, etc.
The idea is to prepare these children for examinations conducted by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and Trinity College, London.
It has partnered with Camps International to arrange activities like adventure trips, curriculum field trips, social and environmental expeditions, ski trips, city tours, cultural trips, etc for its students.
It has a tie-up with E-Sports, a sports services company operating in UAE, to provide all its students the know-how and equipment to engage various sports like tennis, football, swimming, cricket, rugby, etc.