The Varkey GEMS Foundation, the UAE based not-for-profit education organization, and The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), have announced the largest Principals training programme in UNESCO’s history - involving a private Foundation.
The ‘10,000 Principals Leadership Programme’ was announced as a ‘commitment to action’ at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York today. President Bill Clinton is the honorary Chair of the Varkey GEMS Foundation.
The first phase of the programme will involve Kenya, Ghana and India. 10,000 school principals will be trained, across each country over four years. School Principals in many developing countries receive little, if any, leadership and development training. This initiative will up-skill those school leaders and the multiplier effect will benefit thousands of teachers and up to 10 million children.
The initiative reflects calls from UNESCO and the Varkey GEMS Foundation for the private sector to assist NGOs, IGO’s and Governments in supporting the UN Millenium Development Goals, including the need for access to quality education. The private education sector brings unique advantages in education that can compliment the work of the non-profit sector.
The Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova said at the launch, “This partnership between UNESCO and the Varkey GEMS Foundation is an excellent example of the new platforms for cooperation the world needs today. Tackling complex, global challenges requires also innovative and far reaching partnerships between the public and private spheres. GEMS Education works for education as a force for development, for individual realization, for tolerance and dialogue and indeed as a basic human right.
The Varkey GEMS Foundation is supported by GEMS Education, the world’s largest kindergarten to grade 12 education provider. GEMS has over 10,000 employees including a team of world renowned educators who have excelled in education reform, curriculum development and teaching and learning practices. GEMS is also one of the largest education companies in the world to partner with UNESCO to improve teacher training.
The founder of the Varkey GEMS Foundation and Chairman of GEMS Education, Sunny Varkey said at the launch of the initiative, “I believe the private sector can work with NGO’s and Governments, powerfully, to provide more education to those less fortunate. The fact that 67 million children around the world have no access to education is intolerable. Education is the most important issue in the world today. For us to confront, collectively, some of the world’s biggest challenges such as poverty, conflict, prejudice and intolerance we need to lift the standards of education worldwide.”
Kenya, Ghana and India are committed to transforming their educational systems and they recognize Principals as key players in this process.
The Varkey GEMS Foundation is committed to providing leadership development, enhancing teacher effectiveness and professional development courses to improve the skills and knowledge of 10,000 school principals.