The largest operator of kindergarten-to-grade-12 schools in the world, Gems Education was founded by Indian billionaire Sunny Varkey in Dubai after his parents, both of them teachers, left Kerala in India to seek a better quality of life, including higher education, for their family.
In a bid to provide education to all children arriving to the city, Varkey founded the global advisory and educational management firm, which today boasts over 250 schools in 14 countries including in the UK, US, Singapore, India, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Kenya and more.
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The organisation announced the opening of four new schools in the UAE in the 2018/19 academic year. In December 2017, it had secured a $1.24bn loan to refinance borrowings and support growth before going public on the London Stock Exchange in 2018, where it is expected to have a market capitalisation of $5bn. In October 2018, Gems Education and Hassana Investment Company, a Saudi asset management firm that is part of the General Organisation for Social Insurance, penned an $800m deal to build a network of new schools across the kingdom. The joint venture is reportedly the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia and “will open up the Saudi education sector to foreign investment,” according to the firm.
The educational network will be able to accommodate up to 130,000 students and create jobs for 16,000 people, around 40 percent of whom are expected to be Saudi nationals.