Sunny Varkey is the brains behind GEMS Education, one of the largest private school operators in the world for students from kindergarten to grade 12.
Under Varkey’s leadership the group morphed from a single school, Our Own English High School – which he established in Dubai in 1980 – to an operator that oversees the teaching of 100,000 students in 100 schools across eleven countries. In March, the operator announced the opening of its first school in Africa offering 2,000 students a British/IB curriculum.
But Varkey’s interests don’t stop at education. In 1998, the group branched out into providing healthcare management solutions. Varkey is also well known for his philanthropic activities.
He established the Varkey GEMS Foundation, a philanthropic trust, and introduced the Guruvar Awards in India which honours over 144,000 teachers in around 3,000 schools across 45 cities in India.
This year, Varkey was also invited to join a UNESCO panel that advocates the rights of women receive an education.