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GEMS Education and schools list

Monday 18 February 2019 (UAE)   

GEMS Education and schools

GEMS Education is a division of the Varkey Group, a privately owned company based in Dubai with interests mainly in education but also in healthcare and construction. GEMS stands for Global Education Management System, it is not the plural of "GEM" or an acronym for "GEM Schools". Note that the Dubai Gem School is not part of the GEMS school network, despite the name, nor is the Little Gems Preschool in Abu Dhabi and other schools in the Little Gemz Group (as far as we know - they are not in the list of schools on the GEMS website). Some (or all?) GEMS schools operate under the name Premier Schools International LLC (incorporated in 2006 in Dubai)?

GEMS Education how many students, teachers, schools, countries
  • 16 Sep 2013 - according to a news item in Arabian Business (AB), GEMS Education operates in 19 different countries, with almost 100 schools, 11,000 employees, and 147,000 students from 151 different countries. GEMS is planning to have schools in 50 different countries by 2016, which indicates a bit of a math problem. To add schools in 31 new countries would imply GEMS needs to open at least 31 new schools by 2016, however in March 2013, GEMS was reported as saying they planned to open 21 new schools from 2013 to 2016. Perhaps plans have changed, or AB misread the figure from GEMS.
  • 15 Mar 2012 - Reuters reported that GEMS owns 65 schools in 8 different countries.
GEMS-NBAD credit card

List of GEMS schools in the UAE

School Name Emirate   Tel    Level  Curriculum Qualifications School Fees Comments
Al Khaleej National School   Dubai   +971-4-2822707   K-12  Arabic, UAE, US MOE, HS Diploma 12,290-23,518   
American Academy Abu Dhabi   Abu Dhabi   renamed   K-12   AAAD comments 
American School Ajman   Ajman   planned   primary  US  ASA comments 
American School Fujairah   Fujairah   planned   K-12  US   
Badrah School Dubai Waterfront   Dubai   planned   K-12  International   
Boathouse School Palm Jumeirah   Dubai   planned   primary    
Cambridge High School Abu Dhabi   Abu Dhabi   +971-2-5521621   K-12  Indian CBSE, IGCSE, AS, A-levels 13,438-28,380   
Cambridge High School Dubai   Dubai   renamed   K-12  Arabic, UK A-level, IGCSE   
Cambridge International School Al Quoz   Dubai   planned   K-12  UK   
Cambridge International School Dubai   Dubai   +971-4-2824646   K-12  UK A-level, IGCSE 15,327-20,810   
Cambridge International School Dubailand   Dubai   planned   K-12  UK   
Cambridge International School Jumeirah Village   Dubai   planned   K-12  UK   
Dubai American Academy   Dubai   +971-4-3479222   K-12  US IB 18,688-69,186  DAA comments 
GEMS American Academy Abu Dhabi   Abu Dhabi   +971-2-5574880   K-12  US IB (pending approval) 31,500-66,780  GAAAD comments 
GEMS Cambridge International School Abu Dhabi   Abu Dhabi   +971-2-5104343   K-12  UK IGCSE, AS, A-Levels, BTEC 19,000-32,300   
GEMS FirstPoint School Dubai   Dubai      K-12  UK EYFS, NC 38,000-55,000  GFSD comments 
GEMS International School Al Khail   Dubai      K-12  International IB 46,000-60,000   
GEMS Metropole School Motor City   Dubai   planned   K-12  UK IGCSE, AS, A-levels 33,000-44,000  GMSMC comments 
GEMS Millennium School Sharjah   Sharjah   +971-6-5358176   primary  Indian CBSE 8,800-11,550   
GEMS Modern Academy Dubai   Dubai   +971-4-3263339   K-12  Indian IB, CISCE, ICSE, ISC 26,780-42,050  GMAD comments 
GEMS Modern Nursery   Dubai   +971-4-3263339   nursery  Indian Montessori, Reggio Emilia 28,387   
GEMS Nations Academy Dubai   Dubai   planned   K-12  US 84,000-135,000  GNAD comments 
GEMS New Millennium School Al Khail   Dubai   +971-4-3396533   K-12  Indian CBSE 20,000-27,000   
GEMS Our Own School Al Warqa   Dubai   +971-4-2800075     Indian CBSE, iCBSE 5,518-11,676   
GEMS Wellington Academy Al Khail   Dubai        UK 52,000-85,000   
GEMS Westminster School Abu Dhabi   Abu Dhabi   proposed       
GEMS Westminster School RAK   Ras Al Khaimah   +971-7-2035999   K-10  UK NC 10,000-16,000   
GEMS Westminster School Sharjah   Sharjah   +971-6-5426323   K-12  Arabic, UK IGCSE, AS, A-Level 12,000-18,000   
GEMS Winchester School Abu Dhabi   Abu Dhabi   +971-2-6326620   K-10  UK British NC 14,000-22,000   
GEMS World Academy Abu Dhabi   Abu Dhabi   +971-2-6416333   K-12  UK/US IB DP, MYP, PYP 25,000-55,650  GWAAD comments 
GEMS World Academy Dubai   Dubai   +971-4-3736373   K-12  UK, US IB DP, MYP, PYP 55,386-96,140  GWAD comments 
GEMS World School Abu Dhabi   Abu Dhabi   renamed   K-12   GWSAD comments 
Jumeirah College   Dubai   +971-4-3954950   secondary  UK A-level, GCSE 58,542-73,177   
Jumeirah Primary City School   Dubai   renamed WPS   primary  UK 34,510-43,500  JPCS comments 
Jumeirah Primary School   Dubai   +971-4-3943500   primary  UK NC 32,775-41,315  JPS comments 
Little GEMS International School Barsha   Dubai   +971-4-3855355   nursery  UK EYFS 45,000-52,000   
Little GEMS International School Safa   Dubai   +971-4-3855355   nursery  UK EYFS 39,000-42,000   
Little Learners Dubai   Dubai   +971-4-3486260   nursery  UK EYFS 36,000  LLD comments 
Millennium School Dubai   Dubai   +971-4-2988567   K-12  Indian CBSE, iCBSE 14,045-20,654   
Modern High School Dubai   Dubai   +971-4-3263339   K-12  Indian IB, CISCE, ICSE, ISC 26,780-42,050  MHSD comments 
OOEHS Sharjah Boys   Sharjah   +971-6-5355227   K-12  Indian CBSE 6,050-9,680  OSB comments 
Our Own Community School Al Warqa   Dubai   renamed     Indian CBSE, iCBSE   
Our Own English High School Abu Dhabi   Abu Dhabi   +971-2-6425990   K-10  Indian CBSE 3,300-6,700  OOEHSAD comments 
Our Own English High School Al Ain   Al Ain   +971-3-7679747   K-12  Indian CBSE, CIE AS A-levels 3,324-6,924  OOEHSAA comments 
Our Own English High School Dubai   Dubai   +971-4-2361335   K-12  Indian CBSE 6,015-12,727  OOEHSD comments 
Our Own English High School Fujairah   Fujairah   +971-9-2227127   K-12  Indian CBSE, IGCSE 3,853-8,236  OOEHSF comments 
Our Own English High School Sharjah   Sharjah   +971-6-5386486   K-12  Indian CBSE 5,324-10,648  OOEHSS comments 
Our Own High School   Dubai   +971-4-2800077   K-12  Indian CBSE 7,358-12,484  OOHS comments 
Our Own Indian School   Dubai   +971-4-3391188   K-12  Indian CBSE 4,753-9,689  OOIS comments 
Royal Dubai School   Dubai   +971-4-2886499   K-10  UK NC, GCSE, A-level 30,084-37,932  RDS comments 
Sheffield School Dubai   Dubai   +971-4-2678444   K-12  UK GCSE 18,560-29,000  SSD comments 
Sheikh Zayed Private Academy for Girls   Abu Dhabi   +971-2-4469777   K-12  Arabic, Canadian, US HS Diploma 26,100-60,200   
Silicon Oasis GEMS School   Dubai   renamed GWA   K-12  UK IB DP  SOGS comments 
The Kindergarten Starters   Dubai   +971-4-2824090   primary  Indian CBSE 6,180-8,247  TKS comments 
Varkey International School   Dubai   renamed OOIS   K-12  Indian CBSE, SSLC  VIS comments 
Wellington Academy Dubai   Dubai   +971-4-3424040   K-12  UK NC, GCSE, IB 31,000-70,000  WAD comments 
Wellington International School   Dubai   +971-4-3484999   K-12  UK IB, AS / A-level, I/GCSE 35,244-76,675   
Wellington International School Palm Jumeirah   Dubai   planned   primary  UK NC   
Wellington Primary School   Dubai   +971-4-3433266   primary  UK NC, FS1-2, KS1-2 36,060-45,460  WPS comments 
Westminster School Dubai   Dubai   +971-4-2988333   K-12  Arabic/UK A-level, IGCSE 5,235-10,178  WSD comments 
Winchester School Dubai   Dubai   +971-4-8820444   primary  Indian / UK NC 9,923-22,135  WSD comments 
Winchester School Dubai Oud Metha   Dubai   +971-4-3374112     Indian / UK EYFS, NC, AS, A-level 9,377-12,502   
Little GEMS international preschools (LGIP)
GEMS school teaching jobs
GEMS Education recruitment open days in the UK from 26-30 October 2013
  • GEMS are holding recruitment open days at the end of October 2013 in Manchester, London, and Newcastle for prospective teachers and school management positions vacant for UAE GEMS schools ("GEMS Education, is looking for outstanding qualified Primary and Secondary School Leaders and Teachers with experience in IB or GCSE & A-Level across all subjects, to join our schools throughout the United Arab Emirates").
  • Bring a copy of your CV. See the GEMS careers website for more information (gemseducation.com/careers/).
  • Exact school names and positions vacant not supplied. Dates and locations are:
    • London: Saturday 26 October 2013 from 0900-1500. Location GEMS Hampshire School, 15 Manresa Road, Knightsbridge, London SW3 6NB.
    • Manchester: Tuesday 29 October 2013 from 1000-1500. Location The Bridgewater Hall, Lower Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3WS, Tel +44-844-9079000.
    • Newcastle: Wednesday 30 October 2013 from 1000-1500. Location The Assembly Rooms, Newcastle Fenkle St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 5XU, Tel +44-191-2328695.
  • Pay scales not supplied (but salaries are tax-free in the UAE). Benefits advertised include furnished individual accommodation, medical insurance (unknown if private or UAE government health card), visa costs (not really a benefit since UAE law says employers are supposed to pay them anyway), baggage allowance, tuition fee concession.
General information for teaching careers at GEMS schools
  • GEMS Education has consolidated teaching and other vacancies at their schools on one website - see the GEMS job website at careers.gemseducation.com for information and online applications. Or the Twitter website at twitter.com/TeacherJobsdxb (is for GEMS jobs, not general Dubai teaching jobs in other schools).
  • Contact email is careers@gemseducation.com but not for job applications - if you send one there, expect it to be ignored or to receive a reply telling you to apply online.
  • If you really want to try and skip the GEMS Human Resources Department, try sending an application directly to the head of the school you are interested in, but again, expect it to be ignored or to be redirected to the online website - especially if lots of people read this suggestion and start flooding the Head's inbox with job applications. What might make a difference is if you can find a way to connect with the Head prior to applying for a job (networking).
  • Salary scale and benefits package information not usually supplied online or in job advertisements, but are generally similar to (or lower than) salaries and benefits offered at comparable schools in the same location.
  • For example an international IB school salary for teachers will be AED 10,000-15,000 per month, perhaps a bit more if you're lucky or head of department or similar, along with single accommodation provided, annual return flights to home country, and government medical care. The best international, US, or UK private schools in Abu Dhabi and Dubai pay teacher salaries of about AED 15,000-20,000 per month (figures approximately valid for 2000-2015, cost of living salary increases are rarely significant for teachers anywhere in the UAE despite regular tuition fee increases in many private schools).
  • For Indian curriculum schools, teacher salaries are more likely to be AED 1,500-5,000 per month with no accommodation or allowance provided (figures valid for 2000-2015 approximately).
  • Occasionally GEMS Education gets their teachers and students mixed up - for example when there was a proposal for all GEMS school teachers to wear the same uniform (unknown what happened to the proposal, or the person who suggested it).
GEMS school fee increases
GEMS school fee increases 05 May 2012
  • In April 2012 the Dubai KHDA announced maximum permitted school fee increases for schools in Dubai for 2012-2013 based on results of the KHDA inspections for 2012.
  • As some GEMS schools in Dubai had been permitted fee increases by the UAE Ministry of Education in 2010 (resulting in a 10% increase for 2012-2013), overruling the previous KHDA fee freeze, the KHDA said they would not be allowed a further increase in fees for 2012-2013 based on the inspection results.
  • The National reported on 05 May 2012 that Mohammed Darwish, the chief of the Regulations and Compliance Commission at the KHDA, said parents could be assured that the new fee framework would not apply to those schools this year.
  • The schools affected by this are:
GEMS school fee increases 19 January 2012

Gulf News reported that GEMS were increasing fees in some of their schools again, for the 2012-2013 academic year, in accordance with the UAE Ministry of Education decision in May 2010 to allow them an annual 10% increase for three years. Parents are understandably annoyed. Unknown what the KHDA in Dubai plans to do about it (if anything), as they had imposed a freeze on school fee increases in Dubai. Schools affected by the increase include all GEMS schools in Dubai, Fujairah, Sharjah, offering the Indian CBSE curriculum (reported figures only, confirmed figures not supplied):

A Gulf News report 19 January 2012 quoted a GEMS spokesperson as saying "New Indian schools have or are being built and all have been allowed to set much higher fees than these older schools. This has led to concern about our schools' ability to remain sustainable and their ability to continue to compete in the market for good teachers, something that is essential in order to provide a quality education for children." It's not clear how the fee increases improve the ability of GEMS to "compete in the market for good teachers" since GEMS teachers do not appear to have received salary increases.

GEMS school fee increases 14 February 2011
  • GEMS increased fees in some (4, 5, and 6 schools reported) of its Indian schools for 2011-2012 by about AED 50-100 per month.
  • Emirates Business 24-7 reported on 14 February 2011 that Gems said it has received approval from the Ministry of Education to implement the hike. The National said on the same day The ministry confirmed yesterday that the 2010 agreement allowed an increase of about 10 per cent every year for three consecutive years.
  • Newsletters sent to parents of the affected schools included a statement something like "In order for all our students to reach the levels of academic success that our parents and GEMS expect, schools must be self-sustaining in order to continue to improve the quality of education for our students, parents and faculty."
  • Schools with increased fees include (unknown if this is a complete list):
  • No fee increase at The Modern High School for 2011-2012.
  • In May 2010, several GEMS schools in Dubai were given permission by the UAE Ministry of Education to increase fees for 2010-2011, overruling an instruction from the KHDA to Dubai schools requiring them not to increase fees.
GEMS school fee increases 2010-2011 - 15 May 2010
  • Some of the GEMS schools in Dubai are reportedly increasing tuition fees for the 2010-2011 academic year, by up to 15-20%. The UAE Ministry of Education (MOE) has apparently approved the increases despite the KHDA fee freeze imposed in March 2010.
  • Khaleej Times reported on 25 May 2010 Mohammed Darwish of the KHDA as saying "No increase in school fees is effective and payable unless the school receives written approval from the KHDA," but GEMS apparently did not receive written approval from the KHDA, who appear to have been overruled by the UAE MOE.
  • See Dubai school fees increase for more details.
GEMS schools face closure over fee freeze - 30 March 2010
  • A 30 March 2010 report in the Khaleej Times (and similar reports in other UAE newspapers) said that GEMS was considering closing some of its cheaper schools if they were not allowed to increase fees as a result of the KHDA fee freeze for 2010-2011.
  • GEMS Chairman, Sunny Varkey, was quoted as saying "It is impossible to run old schools at less than half the price of new ones, because we have been losing our quality teachers to the new schools on account of our inability to offer competitive salaries, ... Consequently, we will have no choice but to begin to close down unviable schools over the next two years."
GEMS transport fee increases 02 March 2009

GEMS are increasing bus transport fees in several schools as a result of outsourcing them to Bright Bus Transport Company, and cancelling them in others from 01 April 2009, according to a Khaleej Times report 02 March 2009:

GEMS Education profile and contact details
Chairman Sunny Varkey
Postal Address PO Box 8607, Dubai, UAE
Telephone +971-4-3477770
Fax +971-4-3403390
Email global@gemseducation.com
GEMS offices and operations worldwide

Reference: GEMS document Nov 2012 "An opportunity to invest with us".

  • Countries with GEMS offices: India, Kenya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UAE (Dubai), UK (London), USA (New York).
  • Countries with GEMS "operations and active projects": Azerbaijan, China, Egypt, France, India, Ireland (unless they think Eire is part of the UK), Kenya, Libya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Poland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland, UAE, Uganda, UK, USA.
  • Countries with GEMS schools (planned or existing) not in list: Jordan, South Africa.
  • Countries in list with no GEMS schools (planned or existing) according to GEMS school directory: Azerbaijan, Ireland, Nigeria, Oman, Poland.
Varkey GEM Foundation and former US President Bill Clinton
  • The Varkey GEM Foundation was founded in 2010 as a not-for-profit (is that the same as "non-profit"?) organisation, with former US President Bill Clinton as Chairman, appointed in December 2010.
  • For each student enrolled at a GEMS school, the organization promises to help 100 underprivileged children.
  • On 13 December 2011 Bill Clinton was announced as Honorary Chairman of the Varkey GEMS Foundation.
  • From 2011-2014 Bill Clinton was paid $5.6 million (AED 21m) by GEMS for his services according to tax returns filed in the USA. According to GEMS, Bill Clinton made one speech in 2011 and two in 2014 (ref impacthub.gemseducation.com/bill-clinton/).

GEMS school general information and updates

GEMS school sale to Emirates REIT (23 Nov 2013 press release)
  • GEMS Education sold GEMS World Academy Dubai to Emirates REIT, a real estate investment fund, for an undisclosed amount in a lease deal to raise funds for further expansion. See GWA Dubai information for more details.
GEMS school sale to Pinebridge (06 Nov 2013 press release)
  • GEMS Education sold one of their school campuses to PineBridge Investments, a global asset manager in the USA previously under the AIG insurance company umbrella. Press release said a school campus in the UAE, other reports said it was in Dubai, but school name not supplied.
  • GEMS will lease the school propery from PineBridge, and continue to operate the school. Funds realised from the sale will be used by GEMS for future expansion and development projects.
  • Lease length 20 years. Value of the transaction not disclosed.
GEMS to issue $500 million sukuk (29 Oct 2013 - Reuters)
  • Retuers reported that GEMS was planning to borrow $500 million by raising funds from "hybrid Islamic bonds" based on information from three different anonymous sources. According to one source, GEMS was starting a roadshow in the UAE on Thu 31 Oct 2013, and had scheduled investor meetings in Asia and Europe the following week. The same or similar news was reported earlier by Bloomberg. No comment reported or supplied from GEMS.
GEMS to sell 20% or 33% of company for $500 million (16 Sep 2013 - Reuters and Arabian Business)
  • Reuters reported that GEMS planned to sell 20% of itself for $500 million to raise funds for expansion, quoting the Chairman, Sunny Varkey, as saying "We are looking to raise approximately $500 million in the near term ... We will not sell more than 20 percent."
  • Arabian Business also had the story, saying "Sunny Varkey to sell 33% GEMS stake for $500m ... Arabian Business can exclusively reveal." The exclusive statement was based on information AB claimed to have from Credit Suisse (who are apparently looking for investors for GEMS), which said "GEMS is valued at between $1.5b to $2bn ...". So a more accurate headline would have been that GEMS was selling 25-33%. Perhaps AB could ask GEMS for a 25-33% discount on school fees to attend a maths class in one of their schools.
  • But then according to the AB report, the Credit Suisse involvement sounds questionable anyway. First AB reported that Mr Varkey had said that GEMS had appointed Credit Suisse as a financial adviser to help with the sale process and seek investors. But then said Credit Suisse Investment Partner and Director Desh Sharma told Arabian Business he "did not know anything" about the deal.
  • Reuters also reported that Varkey said there were no plans for an imminent share listing. So no GEMS IPO ... at least not today. But if you have a spare $500 million to invest, give Credit Suisse or Sunny Varkey a call, and you'll probably at least find out what the correct story is.
GEMS borrows AED 2 billion for new school development (21 Apr 2013 press release)
  • GEMS announced they had arranged bank finance of AED 2 billion to be repaid over the next 6 years (by April 2019). The funds raised would be used to refinance investments made in new schools over the past three years, and for development of new schools in the UAE and MENA region. Bloomberg had reported in March 2013 that GEMS was seeking funding of up to AED 4 billion to build 21 new schools around the world in the next 3 years.
  • The press release quoted the GEMS Chief Operating Officer, Dino Varkey, as saying "Recently we announced our intention to build ten new schools in the UAE over the next two years ...", which presumably refers to the press release from 6 months earlier about new schools. No further information supplied about locations, curriculums, fees, etc except a repeat of the previous press release comments (which were vague anyway).
GEMS looking for up to $1 billion for expansion (27 Mar 2013 - Blooomberg)
  • A Bloomberg report said that GEMS is looking for $650m to $1bn (about AED 2-4 billion) to fund development of 21 new schools from 2013-2016, including locations in the UK and USA. Other countries were not explicitly specified, but the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of GEMS, Dino Varkey, was quoted as saying in an interview with Bloomberg that "There is a significant amount of demand in the U.A.E., but also huge demand across Africa, across east and south Asia," implying they would build schools in Africa, Asia, and UAE.
  • The report said that GEMS currently employs 11,000 people, annual school fees range from $750 to $40,000 (about AED 3,000 to AED 110,000), makes $500 million revenue per year, and is the largest private school education provider in the world, according to comments made by the COO.
  • As for GEMS doing an IPO (Initial Public Offering), the report quoted the COO as saying "Four or five years from now, when the organization is a different size and scale, that’s a decision we make at that point," which seems to agree with comments from the Chairman a year ago about an IPO in a Reuters report about annonymous sources telling them a GEMS IPO was perhaps coming up in May or June 2013.
GEMS Westminster School Dubai closing but not closing after all (16 Dec 2012 to 05 May 2013)
  • 05 May 2013 - The Westminster School in Al Ghusais (Al Qusais), Dubai, will remain open for the foreseeable future, and with fee structure unchanged. The Dubai education authority (KHDA) announced that GEMS had withdrawn its fee increase application and decided not to close the school after all.
  • 20 Dec 2012 - The Westminster School might not close after all - GEMS were going to submit a revised fee structure to the KHDA for possible approval to keep the school open, apparently as a result of parents protesting and offering to pay up to double the current fees.
  • 16 Dec 2012 - GEMS announced the Westminster School Dubai closing from June 2014 as a result of low KHDA ratings and low tuition fees. In October 2012 GEMS announced they would be building 10 new schools in the UAE. In the UAE, new schools have more flexibility when setting a fee structure but once in place, fee increases are restricted by the educational authorities. So it might make financial sense for GEMS to close a school and open a new one in its place with higher fees to get around the fee restrictions. In the past, GEMS have been able to impose fee increases in some schools despite restrictions from the authorities.
10 new GEMS schools in the UAE (22 Oct 2012 press release)
  • GEMS Education announced in a press release that they would open 10 new schools in the UAE from 2012 to 2014 ("... announced plans to open ten new schools in the UAE over the next two years ..."). No further details of names, locations, curriculums, fees, opening dates, etc supplied, except a vague statement that the "schools will have British, Indian, International Baccalaureate, American and dual curriculums and will include a range of different fee levels." A Gulf News report on 22 Oct 2012 said "The new state of the art education facilities will accommodate 33,000 students in total and will be located in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah" but didn't explain where that information came from (it wasn't in the press release supplied by GEMS).
  • GEMS will also open a Leadership Academy and Teacher Training Center in Dubai, but opening date and location not supplied.
GEMS admitted to World Economic Forum (again?)
  • 02 Sep 2012 (press release) - GEMS Education said they had become a Global Growth Company Partner (GGC Partner) of the World Economic Forum (WEF). They said they were the first UAE organisation to do so, and the first K-12 education provider to do so. But they're probably not the first company to blow their own trumpet. The founder and chairman, Sunny Varkey, said "We are incredibly proud and honoured to become a Global Growth Company 'Partner' as part of the World Economic Forum." It's not clear what the difference is between this announcement, and the one a couple of years earlier when GEMS also said they had just become a GGC Partner of the WEF.
GEMS Chairman named as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador
  • 26 April 2012 (press release) - The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) named Sunny Varkey, Chairman of GEMS Education, as a Goodwill Ambassador for Education Partnerships. He was recognized for "his contribution to forging innovative public-private partnerships to ensure that underprivileged children across the world receive a good quality education"
GEMS IPO possibly in 2013 (15 Mar 2012 - Reuters)
  • Reuters reported that two anonymous sources said GEMS was preparing for an Initial Public Offering (IPO), possibly listing in London or New York, with one source quoted as saying "The IPO is likely between May and June next year." But the report went on to say that the Chairman, Sunny Varkey, told them "I don't see an IPO in the near future ... not in the next five years at least"
28 Mar 2011 - GEMS IPO and GEMS school in Kenya
  • GEMS announced they would build a school in Kenya in association with Mena Link Holdings (press release 28 March 2011).
  • Other news reports said that GEMS might consider going public with an Initial Public Offering to fund their expansion plans. Arabian Business quoted Dino Varkey, the senior director for business operations at GEMS as saying "The ambition that we work towards is five million students by 2024. If we got to the five million number as a conservative [estimate] we would be a $60bn company; we would be employing 450,000 teachers, 55,000 senior leaders - that's the size of organisation that we are trying to build ... Today we are a private company, at some point in our future [we would IPO] but that's not a decision that we've taken yet. It's something for the future."
15 Mar 2011 - GEMS Education chairman award from UAE Ministry of Education
  • The UAE Ministry of Education (MOE) awarded an award to the GEMS Education Chairman, Sunny Varkey, as part of the MOE Loyalty Day event - the special award is conferred on Mr. Varkey recognizing his contribution and support of the education sector in Dubai and the UAE. The award was presented by H.E. Humaid Al Qutami, UAE Minister of Education (press release 15 March 2011).
  • Unknown what the Dubai KHDA had to say about Mr Varkey's contribution and support of the education sector in Dubai, given Mr Varkey's comments criticising the KHDA in 2009, for example "The policies and decisions made by the KHDA are flawed and inconsistent," (03 May 2009 press release).
  • But an updated point of view from Mr Varkey upon being presented with the award was "It is because of the Governments vision to establish world class infrastructure, which includes schools within the education sector that companies from all over the world choose to base their Middle East operations in Dubai."
20 Sep 2010 - GEMS Schools Saudi Arabia partnership (press release)
  • GEMS Schools has entered into a partnership with Kingdom Schools Company in Saudi Arabia to manage the Kingdom School in Riyadh.
15 Jun 2010 - GEMS school teacher salary increases
  • Some GEMS schools were awarded a fee increase in Dubai, despite the KHDA saying in March 2010 that fees for Dubai schools should be frozen for the academic year 2010-2011.
  • GEMS said the fees increases were so they could offer higher salaries to keep and attract better teachers. In May 2010, GEMS sent a newsletter out saying This will help us retain our best teachers because we will be in a stronger position to increase their salaries, referring to the increases and teacher's pay packages.
  • GEMS teachers disagreed according to a Gulf News report 16 June 2010, with some saying the AED 100-250 per month pay increases were mocking their hopes of a better pay structure. Teachers of classes above Grade 10 were reportedly awarded an increase of AED 650 per month.
  • One teacher said "I do not understand how the management expects us to accept this increment to our already meagre salary of Dh2,650 to Dh2,900 per month."
  • But the GEMS Education communication director, Richard Forbes, said "The principal of the school says that the majority of teachers were very happy with the salary increase," referring to Our Own English High School (although it wasn't clear if he meant the Dubai location or Sharjah location, or both).
  • Mr Forbes also stated a few facts: "The facts are that the average teacher's salary at OOEHS has increased by 28 per cent over the past three years. In 2008, teachers received a 20 per cent increase in salary despite there being no fee increase to cover this expense. Not one of the 310 teachers at OOEHS has approached the principal over the past two weeks to complain about the salary increase."
07 Jun 2010 - GEMS Education admitted to World Economic Forum
  • GEMS Education announced in a press release that they had been admitted to the World Economic Forum (WEF) as Global Growth Company (GGC).
  • The Chairman of GEMS Education, Mr Sunny Varkey, said "This forum provides us with the opportunity to promote key issues such as; encouraging governments to support the long-term investment and commitment in education by the private sector; to end the traditional divisions between the public and private sector and to create an environment where we work with governments and global partners to design and build a better, joint solution for global education. It should be a solution that is focused on educational quality and driven by the desire to meet communities' needs." Erm, what?
03 May 2010 - GEMS schools KHDA-DSIB ratings 2009-2010

GEMS announced DSIB school reports for their Dubai schools in a press release:

  • Outstanding ranking for GEMS Wellington International School.
  • Good rankings for Cambridge International School, Dubai American Academy, GEMS World Academy, GEMS Wellington Primary School, Jumeirah College, Jumeirah Primary School, Royal Dubai School.
  • Acceptable rankings for Al Khaleej National School, Westminster School, Winchester School.
11 Jan 2010 - GEMS education expansion in India (press release)
  • A Varkey Group press release 11 January 2010 had a statement from Sunny Varkey saying that "We plan to own or manage over 100 schools in India over the next few years." Which sounds about the same as what was reported in September 2009.
18 Sep 2009 - GEMS school expansion plans
  • An Arabian Business report said GEMS expansion plans by 2014 included up to 100 schools in India, another 100 schools in the MENA region, and 20 schools in the USA. The GEMS Senior Director of Business Operations, Dino Varkey was quoted as as saying:
  • "In order, we're looking to expand in India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and Qatar ... In India, we're looking to grow to a hundred schools in the next five years"
  • "From a MENA perspective, we will be looking at probably another hundred schools, with the balance in Saudi and Egypt just because of the macro factors ... And we're going to continue investing in the UAE, specifically in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah."
  • According to the report, GEMS presently has 100 schools in 11 countries, including 5 in India, with about 100,000 students, and 6,500 teachers with 50 different nationalities represented.
  • GEMS is licensed to operate in 9 US states
  • GEMS has an education services consultancy licence for Saudi Arabia, where they will manage the first school in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in a deal signed with the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA). Perhaps referring to the The World Academy which was due to open September 2009.
10 Apr 2010 - GEMS becomes member of the Clinton Global Initiative
  • GEMS Education will become a strategic partner of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) according to an announcement by President Bill Clinton when he visited the GEMS World Academy (press release 10 April 2010). Whatever that means.
28 Jan 2009 - GEMS school figure
  • Mr Dino Varkey was on the radio discussing the Dubai Modern High School fees increases (GEMS DMHS fees radio). During the conversation he said that GEMS is now up to 26 schools with 52,000 students in the UAE.
23 Jul 2008 - GEMS school figures and expansion plans
  • As of July 2008, GEMS have 25 schools in the UAE with about 70,000 students (18 schools in Dubai, 4 in Abu Dhabi, 1 in Al Ain, 1 in Fujairah, 1 in Sharjah), 75 schools worldwide. GEMS plans to spend AED 1.5 billion by 2010 or 2011, developing more facilities to provide 20,000 - 28,000 more school places (The National 23 July 2008).
01 Oct 2007 - GEMS free SMS text service for parents
  • GEMS Oasis SMS is a new text messaging system from GEMS where parents can send an SMS from their mobile phones, with their student's ID number, and receive information by SMS about attendance, exam results, timetables, exam dates, outstanding fees. The system will be available for all GEMS UAE schools.
08 Jul 2007 - GEMS to borrow $100m for expansion plans
  • National Bank of Dubai Investment Bank said they would arrange a $100m (Dh 367m) loan for GEMS by the end of July 2007. GEMS will use the money to refinance existing debt and develop more schools in the UAE.
23 Jan 2007 - GEMS alliance with Edison Schools
  • Gulf News reported that GEMS formed an alliance with New York based Edison Schools who manage public sector schools in the US and the UK.
  • Under the agreement, GEMS will be able to use the Edison name to manage schools in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.
  • Maybe GEMS schools in Dubai and the UAE will be rebadged as Edison schools to give an air of prestige?
  • Update: Arabian Business reported 07 September 2008 that GEMS and Edison established School Improvement Partnership (SIP), to manage four Abu Dhabi public schools.
  • Other locations being considered include Bahrain, India, Qatar (Doha), UK, USA.
  • Project Director of the SIP initiative is Margaret Corcoran.
General notes for GEMS schools - 23 January 2007

The GEMS motto is "Educating for Brilliant Futures". There will be many parents and teachers who might claim there's a couple of gaps and it should read "Educating for GEMS Brilliant Profitable Future". Especially after the drama in January 2007 about GEMS 70% fee increases in several of their schools (in the end it was put off till December 2007). Whilst the frustrations of parents with regards to fees are understandable, it's a harsh truth that in Dubai and the UAE, if the opportunity to run a school in a profitable manner wasn't available, there would undoubtedly be an even greater shortage of educational institutes for expat children.

Whatever you might think about GEMS, they do provide a wide range of schools and pricing options for customers in Dubai, the UAE, and a growing number of locations in the rest of the world. Their website has a handy selector where you can filter by place, price, curriculum to choose a suitable school for your offspring. Schools managed by GEMS vary widely in quality and working conditions with places like Dubai American Academy (DAA) having a good reputation while others are less sought after by parents, students and teachers, to put it diplomatically. See individual schools (list above for UAE, and below for other countries) for ratings and comments where available. GEMS schools are sometimes referred to as Varkey schools or Varkey Group schools since GEMS is the education unit of the Varkey Group.

List of GEMS schools in the Middle East, Europe, and rest of the world

GEMS schools in Africa
  • See headings for GEMS schools in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda.
  • 30 Oct 2012, The Guardian (Africa's growth sparks controversial rise of private secondary schools):
    • ... GEMS Education, a private school group operating in 10 countries, is embarking on a major expansion in Africa, attracted by the continent's strong economic growth. In September, the company opened its first secondary school in Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. Further schools are planned in Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa. ...
    • No other information found or provided about any planned schools in some of those countries - Nigeria, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania. And the only reference to South Africa found is a Jul 2008 report in The National (unknown where they got that information).
GEMS schools in Azerbaijan

New school proposed or planned, probably in the capital city, Baku. No definitive information provided by GEMS.

  • 02 Apr 2014 - a report in Forbes magazine about GEMS Education (Billionaire Education Entrepreneur Varkey Takes His Dubai School Chain Worldwide) said Further afield he’s [Sunny Varkey] constructing schools in Singapore and Azerbaijan. But no other information provided.
  • 03 Jul 2013 - A Gulf Business article (GEMS Chairman Sunny Varkey Talks Profits And Philanthropy) said "Today, the chairman runs close to 100 schools across 19 countries, from the UAE, to the US, Azerbaijan, Uganda and the UK." Unknown which school or schools in Azerbaijan is being referred to, none exist.
  • Dec 2012 - rumour or speculation that GEMS would establish a British and/or American curriculum school in Baku (source unknown).
  • Nov 2012 - Azerbaijan included in list of countries GEMS has "operations" or "active projects" according to GEMS Education document "An opportunity to invest with us". Unknown which school or schools are being referred to, none exist.
GEMS schools in China
  • GEMS World Academy (GWA) in Tianjin, China (GEMS World Academy Tianjin Eco City) - announced 19 October 2010, opening date scheduled for 2011, investment of $18m in a joint venture with Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City Investment and Development Co. Ltd (SSTEC). Capacity 2,000 students from preschool to high school, International Baccalaureate (IB) program to be offered (IBPYP, IBMYP, IB Diploma?). School operator of GWA-Tianjin will be a subsidiary of GEMS Education Holdings (PREACH) Pte Ltd in Singapore (press release 19 October 2010). Website www.gemsworldacademy-tianjin.com.
  • Little GEMS International School - Tianjin Eco City - British Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum. Website www.littlegemsinternational.com/tianjin.
GEMS schools in Egypt
  • GEMS Academy of Alexandria - Egypt - offers National Curriculum for England and French Baccalaureate curriculum. Website not supplied.
  • Windrose Academy - British curriculum (English National Curriculum - NC) school for classes FS1 to Year 2, opening September 2013. Website www.windroseacademy.com.
GEMS schools in England - see UK heading
GEMS schools in France
  • L'ecole des Roches, Normandie, France - French Baccalaureate program. Website www.ecoledesroches.com.
GEMS Education in Ghana

No schools listed in GEMS directory, no other information about planned or existing schools provided.

  • May 2013 - a position was advertised for a project manager with GEMS Education to run the Making Ghanaian Girls Great! (MGCubed) project for primary aged children in 70 remote government schools.
  • 01 Nov 2012 - reference made to Ghana in another article posted on the blog genevalunch.com (New int’l school to open in Vaud in September): "... with a school planned in Kenya and others to follow in Uganda and Ghana within three years." Original source of information unknown, might have been referring to the report in The Guardian a couple of days earlier.
  • 30 Oct 2012 - reference made to Ghana as one of several African countries in which GEMS plans to open schools, in a report by The Guardian (see Africa heading). Source of information unknown and not provided.
  • 27 Sep 2011 - GEMS announced that 3,000 Ghanian principals, heads, headmistresses would undergo training as part of the "10,000 Principals Leadership Programme" operated by the Varkey GEMS Foundation and UNESCO.
GEMS schools in Great Britain - see UK heading
GEMS schools in India
  • Bawa Lalvani Public School - Punjab
  • Cambridge International School - Batala
  • Cambridge International School - Dasuya
  • Cambridge International School - Hoshiarpur
  • Cambridge International School - Pathankot, Punjab. New school opening April 2012, email gcis.pathankot@gmail.com for more information.
  • Colonel Public School - Tohana
  • GEMS Akademia International School - Kolkata, CIE/CISCE curriculum. Website www.gemsakademia.com.
  • GEMS Genesis International School - Ahmedabad
  • GEMS Global Academy - South City, Gurgaon. Same as GEMS Modern Academy Gurgaon?
  • GEMS International School - Palam Vihar, Gurgaon
  • GEMS Modern Academy - Gurgaon, CBSE curriculum, website www.gemsmodernacademy-gurgaon.com. Same as GEMS Global Academy Gurgaon?
  • GEMS NPS International School - Guwahati, Assam
  • Greater Valley School - Greater Noida
  • Gurukul International School - Nawalgarh
  • Kothari International School - Noida
  • Pailan World School - Kolkata
  • Parasrampuria GEMS International School - Jaipur
  • Starex International School - Greater Delhi
  • The Cambridge International School for Girls - Jalandhar
  • World Heritage School (Junior) - Tohana
GEMS schools in Ireland (Eire)
  • Not according to GEMS school directory, but they have operations in Ireland according to map of countries GEMS has activities in, supplied with Nov 2012 investment document. Unless GEMS thinks Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, or the brochure writer got GEMS Education mixed up with an Irish university Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS).
  • No other information provided by GEMS about existing or planned schools in Ireland.
GEMS schools in Jordan
  • Aqaba International School - Aqaba
GEMS schools in Kenya
  • Kenya - GEMS International School in Nairobi, Kenya planned by GEMS Education in association with MenaLink Holdings. Also called GEMS Cambridge International School Nairobi?
    • It will offer a K-12 British/IB curriculum with capacity up to 2,000 students. Opening date not supplied (28 March 2011 press release).
    • Project cost about $40-$50 million. Opening date might be September 2012?
    • Possibly up to another 10 schools in Kenya and other locations in Africa under consideration. Dino Varkey quoted by Arabian Business 29 March 2011 as saying "Africa, specifically East Africa, is of critical importance. ... We've always had huge ambition for South Africa so there are a number of initiatives that we are pursuing in South Africa, Uganda."
GEMS schools in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) - see Saudi Arabia heading
GEMS schools in Kuwait
  • GEMS Kuwait International English School (KIES) - founded 1991, taken over by GEMS for September 2007.
GEMS schools in Libya
  • International School Benghazi - follows National Curriculum for England, email address info@isb.com.ly, website www.isb.com.ly.
  • International School, Tripoli (Tripoli International School) - Tripoli
GEMS schools in Nigeria
  • Nigeria listed in GEMS investment information (Nov 2012 document) as one of the countries they operate in. But ...
  • No existing schools according to GEMS school directory. No information provided about any planned schools.
  • There are one or more existing "Little Gems" private schools, and Gem private schools, but they do not appear to be related to GEMS Education Group.
GEMS schools in Oman
  • Oman listed in GEMS investment information (Nov 2012 document) as one of the countries they operate in. But ...
  • No existing schools according to GEMS school directory. No information provided about any planned schools.
GEMS schools in Poland
  • Poland listed in GEMS investment information (Nov 2012 document) as one of the countries they operate in. But ...
  • No existing schools according to GEMS school directory. No information provided about any planned schools.
  • 01 Nov 2012 - reference made to Poland in an article posted on a website or blog genevalunch.com (New int’l school to open in Vaud in September): "... Others are planned in Europe, for example in Poland. ..." Original source of information not provided.
GEMS schools in Qatar
  • New British curriculum school planned with September 2014 opening date (details not supplied).
  • New Indian CBSE curriculum school planned with April 2014 opening date (details not supplied).
  • Al Khor International School (British Stream) - Doha
  • Al Khor International School (Indian Stream) - Doha
  • Doha Modern Indian School - Doha
  • The Cambridge International School for Girls - Doha
  • The Cambridge School - Doha
GEMS schools in Singapore
  • GEMS World Academy Singapore (GWA Singapore) - planned opening date September 2014, IB curriculum, from pre-KG to Grade 5 initially, expanding to Grade 12 in later years, project cost S$213 million. Facilities include auditorium, planetarium, sports arena. Website www.gemsworldacademy-singapore.com. Founding Head is Dan E. Young, previously Superintendant and CEO of GEMS World Academy in Dubai. He is also Director of GEMS World Academies section, and part of the Leadership Team for GEMS World Academy of Etoy, Switzerland (?).
GEMS schools in Saudi Arabia
  • The World Academy (TWA) in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), American/IB curriculum, grade K-8 in phase I (open September 2009?), to grade 12 in phase II (open 2012). Head of school Andrew Westerman (unconfirmed).
  • The Kingdom School in Riyadh (Kingdom Schools) - partnership announced 20 September 2010 for GEMS to manage the school.
GEMS schools in South Africa
  • GEMS are planning to open schools in South Africa according to a report in The National 23 July 2008.
GEMS schools in Switzerland
  • Gems World Academy in Etoy, between Geneva and Lausanne, in Canton Vaud. Opening date planned for September 2013, construction started in 2011. Offering IB curriculum. Classes KG to Grade 12. First GEMS school in Switzerland. Email address registrar_gwe@gemsedu.com, website www.gemsworldacademy-etoy.com.
GEMS schools in the UAE (United Arab Emirates)
  • See table list above.
  • GEMS Our Own English High School, Discovery Gardens - mentioned in Nov 2012 GEMS investment document (picture and name only), no further information supplied about expected opening date, or if it even is a planned school.
GEMS schools in Uganda
  • Uganda - GEMS Cambridge International School Kampala - British curriculum school for nursery to Year 4 classes, opening September 2013. Website www.gemscis-kampala.com.
GEMS schools in the UK (United Kingdom)
  • Abbotsford Preparatory School - Manchester
  • Bolitho School - Cornwall
  • Brabyns Preparatory School - Stockport
  • Bury Lawn School - Milton Keynes
  • Clevelands Preparatory School - Bolton
  • Firwood Manor Preparatory School - Oldham
  • GEMS Hampshire School (London)
  • Kingswood College - Ormskirk
  • Lady Lane Park School - Bingley
  • Ladymede School - Aylesbury
  • Little GEMS International Sherfield - Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum. Not the same as Sherfield School - Sherfield-on-Loddon?
  • Moor Allerton Preparatory School - Manchester
  • Sherborne House School - Chandlers Ford
  • Sherfield School - Sherfield-on-Loddon. Offers National Curriculum for England and International Baccalaureate (IB). Website www.sherfieldschool.co.uk. Not the same as Little GEMS International School Sherfield?
  • St. Colette's Preparatory School - Cambridge
  • The Hampshire School - London
  • Webber Independent School - offers National Curriculum For England. Website www.webberindependentschool.co.uk.
GEMS school expansion in UK 2012-2014
  • The Guardian (a UK based newspaper) reported (02 February 2012) that GEMS Education was planning to open 6 new private day schools in England for 3-18 year old children. Opening dates between 2012 and 2014. Locations not finalised. Fees expected to be from £8,000 - £12,000 (AED 46,000-70,000) per year.
GEMS schools in USA/North America
  • GEMS Lakefront Chicago - referred to in Nov 2012 GEMS investment document, might refer to the GWA-Chicago.
  • GEMS World Academy Chicago (GWA-Chicago) - International Baccalaureate program (IB). Website www.gemsworldacademy-chicago.com. Opening date planned for September 2013?
  • Little GEMS International - Lincoln Park, Chicago - British Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum. Email address info@lgichicago.com, website www.littlegemsinternational.com/lincolnpark.
  • Pemberton Valley (proposed, rumoured) / Ravens Crest - possible interest expressed by GEMS back in 2007 to establish a school there. Zoning approvals apparently delaying progress. Update 14 July 2011 in the publication Whistler Question said there was progress on zoning approval but not clear if GEMS Education or another school operator would build something on the site - the Pemberton mayor, Jordan Sturdy, reportedly said "It may be GEMS, but it may be others. ... There are a number of different organizations that have expressed interest in the site."
Last update Friday 07-Aug-2015
Related pages
Related websites (new window)
  • www.gemseducation.com - GEMS Education website
  • www.gemseducation.com/MENASA/investors/careers.php - teaching jobs and careers on GEMS Education website
  • www.twitter.com/TeacherJobsdxb - GEMS Education teaching jobs notifications on Twitter


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