Dubai: One of the biggest pioneers of private-sector education, Mariamma Varkey passed away on March 31.
After being bed-ridden for several years, she passed away at the age of 89. She is known to have brought several pioneering changes to Dubai's education system and taught many members of the royal family.
In 1959, Mariamma moved to Dubai along with her late husband, KS Varkey. She started Dubai's first private school, Our Own English High School in 1968. In 1980, her son Sunny Varkey took over the business operations, and in 2000 founded Global Education Management Systems (GEMS).
Currently, GEMS Education has 44 schools in UAE and Qatar, educating over 119,000 students, as well as schools in KSA, Egypt, Europe, Africa, India, Southeast Asia and North America.
She is survived by her son Sunny Varkey, Chairman of GEMS group, and daughter, Susan Mathews. passed away on March 31.
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