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 the GEMS teachers who have been 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 best. These teachers also inspire their colleagues to do better with their students as reflective practitioners.


The awards will recognise teachers across a number of categories.

Most Inspirational Teacher USD 60 000
Early Years Teaching USD 24, 000
Primary Years Teaching USD 24, 000
Secondary Years Teaching USD 24, 000
Special Education Teaching USD 24, 000


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

  1. Inspires and motivates their students to have a love for learning as demonstrated by their engagement and progress.
  2. Designs and implements inclusive teaching and learning strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students across the full range of abilities and from diverse backgrounds.
  3. Uses contemporary knowledge and understanding of curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements; and exhibits innovative pedagogical practices and effective use of resources to engage and support students in their learning.
  4. Demonstrates a continuous improvement mindset as a reflective practitioner to enhance their professional knowledge and practice.
  5. Maintains high ethical standards and exercises sound judgement in all school and community contexts.
  6. Identifies, initiates and builds on opportunities to engage parents/carers in the progress of their children's learning.
  7. Participates in, and contributes to, professional networks and associations and builds productive links with the wider community to improve teaching and learning.
  8. Provides collegial support and leadership for others in the school.


To be eligible, nominees must:

  • be currently working teachers at GEMS schools who teach children that are in compulsory schooling, or 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 under 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 2017

Annually from 2017, the nominees for all the Mariamma Varkey Awards will come from the pool of monthly GEMS Teacher Award (GTA) recipients, another initiative recognising outstanding teachers as of 2016-17.

By the end of May, each school nominates ONE of their GTA recipients to be on the short list for the Mariamma Varkey Awards. There will be an expectation that the selection and nomination process by schools will have greater involvement of parents and students. See guidelines for schools, please click here.

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 World Teachers Day (October 4th).

Mariamma Varkey Awards Nomination Form


  1. Please click here to read our submission process.
  2. Download the Nomination Evidence template, click here.
  3. For any queries please email mvaward@gemseducation.com