Over 60 Years of Legacy

Our story began in 1959...

Our story began in 1959, when two passionate teachers – KS and Mariamma Varkey – left Kerala, India for the United Arab Emirates in search of a better life for their young family. Leaving everything they knew behind, it was a plunge into the unknown, where the risks were great, but the opportunities greater.

With more and more families arriving in Dubai from across the world with children in tow, what the Varkeys found in their new home was a growing need for quality English-language education. Immediately, they got to work teaching both expats and locals, initially from their very own home. It was a modest start, but little did they know that their one small school would grow into a network spanning the globe. In 1968, KS and Mariamma opened Our Own English High School, Dubai – a school that is still going strong today. Then, in 1980, their son Sunny Varkey added a visionary’s touch to his parents’ practical experience, setting in motion a string of new school openings across the Emirates in the years that followed.

From humble beginnings rooted in a family of teachers, GEMS Education has today become a truly international organisation and the largest private K-12 education provider in the world.

More to Explore

  • Today we continue to take immense pride in the high standard of our schools, our teachers and the myriad opportunities made available for the young learners in our care.

  • Throughout our more than 60 years in education, our mission has remained unwavering – to put a quality education within the reach of every learner.

  • GEMS Education is one of the oldest and largest Kindergarten to Grade 12 / Year 13 private education providers in the world.


  • You don’t achieve sustained success over a period of more than 60 years without the right people. Which is why it’s our passionate teachers, dedicated support staff and visionary leaders who truly set us apart.


  • We know that as a parent you want only the very best for your child. The best opportunities, the best experiences and the best education. It’s what every one of our schools delivers every single day, and we’re proud of the quality of our provision and the difference it’s making in the lives of the tens of thousands of children in our care.

  • Every day in every one of our schools, our students learn about the importance of putting others first, of making a difference in the lives of their community, and of having a positive impact in the world. It’s only right, therefore, that we walk our own talk, which is why we take social and global responsibilities seriously.

  • View our many partners that we work with.

Our international education footprint extends to 49 schools across the UAE, Qatar and Egypt, delivering a consistent, dynamic, high-quality education for every child.
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