About the Award

Purpose - #Teachers Matter

In line with our Founder's mission to raise the status of the teaching profession within the country and in recognition of the drive and passion that Mariamma Varkey has put towards education, GEMS Education launches The Mariamma Varkey Awards for Inspirational and Outstanding Teaching at GEMS. This award, partnered with the Emirates Innovative Teacher Award and the Global Teacher Prize continues to underline the importance of the teaching profession and symbolises the fact that teachers throughout the world deserve to be recognised, respected, rewarded and celebrated.

The Mariamma Varkey Awards for Inspirational and Outstanding Teaching at GEMS will recognise GEMS teachers who are deemed to be the most inspirational and outstanding practitioners overall and at each stage of schooling. These teachers motivate and stimulate their students to question, inquire, create, problem solve and to aspire to be the very best. These teachers also inspire their colleagues to learn and improve as reflective practitioners.


The awards will recognise teachers across a number of categories.

Most Inspirational Teacher USD 60,000
Early & Primary Years USD 24,000
Inclusion USD 24,000
Secondary Years USD 24,000
Arabic & Islamic USD 24,000

Guidance for consideration

The selection and nomination process should be based on evidence in relation to each of the criteria below:

  1. Demonstration of a remarkable impact upon their students and the wider community
  2. Pioneering, creative and inclusive, exhibiting innovative pedagogical practices that engage and challenge students in their learning
  3. A reflective practitioner who inspires and motivates students and colleagues whilst engaging parents in the progress of their children’s learning


To be eligible, nominees must:

  • be currently working teachers at GEMS schools who teach children who are in compulsory schooling, or who are between the ages of two and eighteen.
  • have worked in a GEMS school for at least a year.
  • not be prohibited from participating in the contest or receiving the award through any applicable law.
  • not have a criminal record nor conduct themselves (by act or omission) in such a way as to bring the teaching profession into disrepute.


  • The award will be paid in equal annual instalments over a period of four (4) years.
  • For a period of four (4) years from receiving the award, the winner must continue to teach within a GEMS school.
  • During this four (4) year period, the winner shall not conduct themselves (by act or omission) in such a way as to bring the teaching profession or any of the organising parties into disrepute.
  • Post the announcement, the award winners will be filmed to capture effective classroom practice related to the key indicators of teacher performance; and will be recognised through the GEMS network as teacher leaders and coaches.
  • Full terms and conditions can be found on the website.

Mariamma Varkey Award

Since 2016, the nominees for the Mariamma Varkey Awards having been a recipient of the monthly GEMS Teacher Award (GTA).

By the end of summer term, each school nominates ONE of their GTA recipients to be on the short list for the Mariamma Varkey Awards. There is an expectation that the selection and nomination process by schools engage parents and students.

An expert panel of judges will deliberate and validate the evidence against the stated criteria.

The award winners will be announced at a ceremony that takes place on October 3rd.

Mariamma Varkey Awards Nomination process

  • Each school principal should assign a nomination committee of their choosing. The committee will shortlist candidates for nomination and then select the teacher to put forward for the award.
  • The committee should also ensure all required material for the nomination (detailed below) is supplied by the teacher and the school's principal.
  • Once this has been received, the committee will need to fill out the application form below by 16th of September.

Nominations should include the following material:

  1. A short video (no more than 2 minutes long) that captures the unique strengths and contributions of the nominee and the importance and value of their work. This should be uploaded as a hidden/unlisted video to any online service like YouTube, Vimeo, OneDrive, Google Drive or WeTransfer and the link must be provided in the nomination form below.
  2. Two classroom observation forms (all submissions will be treated confidentially). Please upload these in the nomination form below.
  3. Two supporting statements. No more than 700 words each to be typed or pasted directly into the nomination form below:
    1. From the school's Principal on why they are putting forward their nominee. Possible exemplars of their attributes may include:
      • their remarkable impact on students and the wider community
      • their pioneering, creative and inclusive approach to teaching
      • their innovative pedagogical practices that engage and challenge students in their learning
      • how they inspire and motivate their students and colleagues
      • how they engage parents in the progress of their children’s learning
    2. From the nominee on why they should be considered for the Award.

For any queries please email mvaward@gemseducation.com



Nomination Form

Please note that only ONE submission per school will be accepted. In case of multiple submissions from the same school, only the first one will be accepted and the rest will be deleted.