“My hope is that every one of our students will leave us with a spark to make a contribution to the world,” says Atul Temurnikar, Chairman and Co-Founder of Global Schools Foundation (GSF), “and the determination to make a positive impact on their community.” The foundation, which is headquartered in Singapore and operates across the Asia, Pacific and Middle East region, owns and manages the Global Indian International School (GIIS) educational group and the One World International School (OWIS). GIIS was established in 2002 with the aim of meeting the educational needs of expat Indians living in Singapore and was the first organisation in that country to offer the rigorous curriculum of India’s Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). Following the group’s initial success, it expanded rapidly to other parts of the world, including Southeast Asia, Japan, the Middle East and India.

“As the Indian expat community started moving to other continents, they wanted a broader curriculum that was appropriate to their new location,” says Temurnikar. “So we introduced the IGCSE and the International Baccalaureate.”


Gems of learning

What sets GIIS’s schools apart, besides the multiple curriculums, is their Nine Gems framework. “Education is about building intelligence and character,” says Temurnikar, “and the Nine Gems methodology encompasses these elements to lend greater purpose to a purely academic education. It emphasises areas such as sport, performing arts, entrepreneurship and community service from a young age.”

The ethos connects students across GIIS schools, giving them a sense of global connection and contributing to their respective local communities. It has also resonated with the growing population of non-Indian students at GIIS schools: a case in point being the group’s Tokyo campus, where just under half of the students are Japanese.

“The Japanese have a tremendous respect for the achievements of Indians as global corporate leaders and entrepreneurs,” says Temurnikar, “so we are pioneering new technologies that will enable real-time participation and interaction across global campuses. For instance, if a VIP visits the Abu Dhabi campus, I want them to be able to interact with all of our students.” As part of GSF’s Leadership Lecture series, students have had the opportunity to gain insights and interact with dignitaries such as the former president of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam; Nobel Laureate Professor Richard Ernst; and Indian Olympic Gold medalist, Abhinav Bindra.


Rethinking education

Under GSF’s guidance, GIIS is rethinking classroom teaching, with small student groups working on tablets and the possibility of real-time classes taught across the neighbouring time zones in which the group operates. “GIIS covers a large footprint,” says Temurnikar. “We want our students to realise that the world is their oyster, to get a feel for what it is to be international and to really live it. That is the best gift you can give children.”

Students graduating from GIIS regularly take up places at Harvard, Stanford and Oxbridge, a testament to their academic excellence and the global perspective their schooling imparts to them. “What defines us, however, is the Nine Gems philosophy,” says Temurnikar. “Our students achieve great academic results but, more importantly, they also go on to do amazing things with their lives.”