Dubai, UAE: GEMS Education, the leading global education provider, is offering its teachers and staff across its network in the Middle East free shares in the organisation, a move that is a historic first anywhere in the world by a privately owned K-12 education company.
Sunny Varkey, Group Chairman of GEMS Global and Founder of GEMS Education and Varkey Foundation, who last year topped Forbes Asia’s Heroes of Philanthropy list, has earmarked an estimated AED100 million in notional shares for GEMS Education teachers and staff in schools in the region.
The ‘Share our Future’ is a retention plan for GEMS Education employees proposed and adopted by the company to demonstrate the appreciation of long standing employees.
Varkey said: “We want to recognise high-performing teachers and staff. They are instrumental in us building GEMS into the world’s leading educational organisation. We need our teams to excel in every classroom, in every school, in every country. When we see success I want us to share and celebrate it.
“Teachers and staff across the GEMS Education network in the Middle East can now take genuine ‘owner’s pride’ in the institution. We hope their sense of ownership will invoke an even greater commitment to excellent student outcomes within the classroom and beyond. We are also optimistic that this initiative will provide added incentive to attract and continue to retain the best of talent from around the world. ”
The notional share transfer to teachers and staff is based on various criteria including their seniority and years of service with the organisation.
This new initiative by GEMS Education supports the UAE Vision 2021 announced by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, remarked Varkey.
“A first-rate education system that keeps pace with development is a strategic pillar of the UAE Vision 2021. This needs an environment that promotes innovation and creativity – and our best bet to build this is through our teaching community and staff,” he added.
‘Share our Future’ complements Sunny Varkey’s wide-ranging philanthropic services. In June 2015, he pledged half of his fortune to charity as part of the ‘Giving Pledge’ initiative led by Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates.
Earlier this year, Varkey Foundation, which works to improve the standard of education for underprivileged children across the world, presented the second US$1 million prize to Hanan Al Hroub, a Palestinian teacher working with children in refugee camps, as part of its ‘Global Teacher Prize’ initiative. It is the largest prize of its kind in the world of education.