Dubai: Abraaj Capital, the Dubai-based private equity firm, yesterday said it has made a significant investment in Global Education Management Systems (GEMS), a leading international education provider headquartered in Dubai.

The investment in GEMS, made through Abraaj's Infrastructure and Growth Capital Fund (IGCF), comes against a backdrop of rapidly increasing demand and limited capacity, straining the region's existing education infrastructure.

Abraaj's entry into the education sector is in line with the objectives of its IGCF, which seeks to address the infrastructure requirements of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (Menasa) in several sectors, including transportation, healthcare, water, manufacturing, petrochemicals, power and utilities, and education.

"The Menasa region's youthful population and high demographic growth rate will place great pressure on the economies over the coming decade. As a result, today more than ever, the region needs educational institutions that produce individuals with the skills necessary to compete in a modern and global economy. For nearly 40 years, this is exactly what GEMS has done," said Arif Naqvi, vice-chairman and CEO of Abraaj Capital.

Profile: Leading manager of schools across the globe

  • GEMS owns and manages several schools across the Middle East, including Our Own English High School, Dubai American Academy, Cambridge International School and Our Own Indian School.
  • The organisation offers a range of internationally-recognised programmes, including International Baccalaureate, National Curriculum for England, American Curriculum and various Indian curricula.
  • Earlier this year GEMS, in collaboration with New York-based Edison Schools, the largest manager of public schools in the United States, established School Improvement Partnership (SIP), which will soon start managing four public schools in Abu Dhabi. In coordination with the government of Abu Dhabi, the public-private partnership programme will focus on raising standards, improving the quality of teaching and learning, supporting staff through professional development, and coaching school leaders to develop overall reform strategies.