Dino Varkey, Group Chief Executive Officer addressing journalists during a Media Roundtable on GEMS Awareness Day. Photo: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: The GEMS Education has hired 2,445 teachers from a pool of 590,000 applications received, according to the group’s Chief Executive Officer.

The group sets a new milestone by hosting its largest-ever teacher induction day in Dubai with passionate educators from around the world being welcomed to its network of 44 schools across the UAE and Qatar.

Dino Varkey, in a media roundtable on the sidelines of the ‘awareness day’ held on Tuesday, said the uptake of teachers is keeping in line with a growth in student enrollments for the new academic year.

“Today is an incredibly important day for GEMS. We have witnessed the largest GEMS’ awareness day for teachers so far,” said Dino.

He added the GEMS education awareness day is always a good opportunity for the new teachers to get a foundational understanding and an introduction to the heritage of the educator.

“They get a real sense of the things that are important for us as educator and the promise we make to our families, our parents and our students. It gives us an incredible opportunity to give them a glimpse of our strategy and our path for the future,” he said.

Students’ enrollment on the rise

Varkey said the students’ enrollment for the academic year 2023 — 2024 will continue until September-end. “Typically, we are enrolling all the way through till end-September. What I can say is that the enrollment growth rates are one of the highest so far close to what we saw in the middle of 2018.”

Students’ uptake across the board

With regards to the students’ uptake, Dino said it was across the board. However, he said, the higher income schools have marked an increased enrollment of students. He said the year ahead is going to witness a seven per cent increase in students’ enrollment and the higher income schools will record a double digit growth.

“We are all fortunate that we live in the UAE. It is a place that provides families, safety, stability, security, and an enabling environment. That is definitely drawing the people and students here,” said Dino.

Biggest cost

“Our biggest cost is our teachers. We hire teachers from around the globe. And if you see there is a global shortage of teachers amounting to 70 million. So when you have a global shortage, obviously, there’s inflation in that cost base. But it’s not new for us. I think the most important things for education are our students’ enrollments which is growing in numbers.

GEMS also said 196 Emiratis have been inducted into the educator’s new recruits, keeping in line with the UAE government’s strategy of Emiratisation.

At the awareness day 2023, GEMS Education Founder Sunny Varkey also spoke of the crucial importance of teachers in an ever-challenging, fast-changing world.

He said: “It is you who will build a bridge from the present to the future, taking us from where we are to where we want to be, turning our dreams into reality. It is also you that will help the next generation to face what are perhaps the biggest challenges in history — sweeping technological changes, growing inequality, and of course climate change.

“Your burden is great, your purpose is clear, and your choice is noble. I am truly honoured to meet all of you today. Thank you for choosing to be teachers. And thank you for joining GEMS Education.”

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Recuiting process

Dino said: “At GEMS, we go to great lengths to hire the best teachers in the world, and provide a stimulating and rewarding environment for their careers to thrive. Our recruitment teams interview thousands of educators to ensure that we hire outstanding teachers to deliver a quality education to our learners. The theme for this year’s GEMS Awareness Day was sustainability and the event highlighted many eco-friendly initiatives and its alignment with the UAE’s Green Education strategy.

GEMS’ sustainability commitment includes ensuring all teachers are UNCC Climate Literacy certified by October 2023, with the journey towards this goal due to be presented at the upcoming 60th anniversary of United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in Geneva.

Saima Rana, Chief Education Officer at GEMS Education, said: “Fostering a zero-waste society is one of the five pillars of our long-term education strategy. As educators, we have a responsibility to teach young people to be guardians of the planet and use their skills, intellect, and ingenuity to create solutions that will solve global challenges.

“As a nation, we have the privilege of hosting COP28 this year, and GEMS students and teachers will have the opportunity to play a part in this historic event. Sustainability and climate literacy will be merged into all core curricula, underpinning the way we teach, learn and, ultimately, the way we live,” she added.