Dubai's GEMS raises $84m to open Singapore school

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An artist's impression of the GEMS World Academy Singapore.

An artist's impression of the GEMS World Academy Singapore.

Dubai-based GEMS Education, one of the world’s largest international private school operators, has confirmed it will open its first school in Singapore after raising $84m through bank financing.

The loan is the largest of any education provider in the island state, the firm said in a statement.

India’s second largest bank ICICI and Singapore-based OCBC are acting as lead arrangers for the nine-year, multi-currency facility, the company said. The Great Eastern Life Assurance Company Limited, a subsidiary of OCBC, is also a participating bank.

GEMS World Academy Singapore (GWA Singapore) will be the organisation’s first school in South East Asia, with a total investment of $170m.

Construction already has started on the school, which will offer the International Baccalaureate curriculum from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12, to cater for Singapore’s high expat population.

Located in Yishun, it is scheduled to open in September 2014.

GEMS head of business development Jay Varkey said the facility would be world-class.

“GWA Singapore will offer a creative focus on the overall development of each child aimed at setting new benchmarks of education delivery in the region,” he said.

“GWA Singapore will be the inaugural school for us in Singapore and what we hope would be the first of many top-quality facilities that GEMS Education will establish in the region. Our hope and vision for GWA Singapore is to become a thought-leader in the provision of top-quality education enriching the lives of children here and the communities in which they live in.”

GEMS is the largest private school operator in Dubai and also has schools in the UK, Europe, US, India, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kenya.

GEMS Singapore CEO Shailesh Chander said there was strong demand in Singapore for quality international education.

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