One of the oldest educators in the UAE and the mastermind behind the $1.01 billion-worth GEMS Education group, Mariamma Varkey passed away in Dubai aged 89.
In 1959, Mrs Varkey moved from India’s southern state of Kerala to the United Arab Emirates before its formation and worked as a teacher, until she founded Our Own English High School with her husband, K.S. Varkey.
Photograph credit: GEMS Education
Her son, Sunny Varkey took over operations in 1980 and expanded GEMS Education into an educational management firm with 44 schools in the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, in addition to its presence in Europe, Africa, India, Southeast Asia and North America.
Photograph credit: Varkey Foundation
More than 119,000 pupils have studied at GEMS Education schools.
Yesterday evening, GEMS Education announced Mrs Varkey’s death, saying:
“We are sad to announce the passing of Madam Mariamma (Amina) Varkey, beloved mother of our Founder and Chairman Mr. Sunny Varkey. Madam Varkey is warmly remembered as a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.”
It’s commonly known in the UAE that Mrs. Mariamma Varkey taught UAE Royal family members.
Nasser Al-Shaikh, chair of Emirates National Holdings, tweeted a tribute to the late educator:
(Featured photograph credit: GEMS Education)