• The SABIS® Story
  • About the Author
  • About SABIS®
  • Reader Comments
  • Contact Us

The SABIS® Story

Can education be run as a
profitable business and still be driven
by a humanitarian vision?
James Tooley

About the Author

Professor James Tooley

Is Director of the E. G. West Centre at Newcastle University.

He has held a number of teaching and research posts around the world, including at the University of Oxford, Simon Fraser University and University of Western Cap; his first job was a mathematics high school teacher in Zimbabwe.

His earlier work, Beautiful Tree (Penguin, New Delhi), was on the best-seller lists in India in 2010, and won the 2010 Sir Antony Fisher Memorial Prize. It builds on his ground-breaking research on private education for the poor in India, China and Africa, for which he was awarded the gold prize in the first International Finance Corporation/Financial Times Private Sector Development Competition. He was founding president of the Education Fund, Orient Global, living in Hyderabad, India, for two years, where he created a chain of low cost private schools. Since then he has helped set up a number of educational companies in China, Ghana, and India.

His work has been featured in an American PBS documentary, where it was profiled alongside the work of Nobel Laureate Mohammed Yunus and Grameen Bank. It also featured in a documentary for BBC World and on BBC Newsnight. He has been described in the pages of Philanthropy magazine as “a 21st century Indiana Jones” travelling to “the remotest regions on Earth researching something that many regard as mythical: private, parent-funded schools serving the Third World poor.”

Tooley is currently chairman of education companies in Ghana and China creating embryonic chains of low cost private schools.

About SABIS®

A World Class, K-12 Education

SABIS® is a global education network that operates on 4 continents serviced through three independent corporations headquartered in the U.S., Lebanon, and the U.A.E. Schools in the SABIS® Network operate in 16 countries and educate 70,000 students. Based on a proven proprietary system, SABIS® Network schools provide students with a top-quality education that prepares them to meet the challenges of a changing world.

The SABIS® philosophy revolves around the firm belief that a university education is academically accessible to most students, rather than a select few. SABIS® also believes that the success of an educational institution should be measured by the value that it adds to each student.

The proprietary SABIS® Educational System, an integrated, comprehensive, kindergarten through twelfth grade academic program that has been developed and refined over a 130-year period, guides student development. With a balance of academics, self-development, and life preparation, the SABIS® Educational System prepares students for success in college, fosters a lifelong interest in learning, and develops responsible world-class citizens. It blends quality education with traditional values of hard work and responsibility for self and others.


Some features of the SABIS® Educational System include:

  • A well-structured and comprehensive curriculum
  • Efficient books, in core subjects, designed to dovetail precisely with the curriculum
  • Proven instructional methods that keep students engaged and learning efficiently
  • Timely tracking of student performance through regular assessment to fill any learning gaps
  • Cutting-edge educational tools to support the SABIS® program and enhance efficiency
  • A student-led organization that creates positive attitudes and behaviors
  • A safe, disciplined, and positive environment that encourages learning and responsible behavior

Reader Comments

I enjoyed the book and started buying copies as personal gifts after the copy you had sent me seemed to have a lending waiting list. My copy is currently on its way to Kenya with someone! I've been telling people for so long how great SABIS® is it's nice to give them something so they can read about you for themselves.

Julia Brickell, International Finance Corporation

Thank you for sending me a copy of the book, From Village School to Global Grand. This story of how successful local school grew to become a worldwide educational group looks to be a very interesting read.

I will be happy to put this book in our University Library collection so that it can serve as a resource for our faculty and students in business, education, and other fields. I appreciate your sharing with us this book about a true Lebanese success story.

Peter Dorman, President, American University of Beirut

The story told by this book offers hope for the world. This is not an unrealistic claim. A system, demonstrated in many countries to be successful for educating even the most disadvantaged children, has addressed with results, not theories, the leading barrier to success for individuals and nations. The book explains how those results have been accomplished. It offers convincing evidence that others can achieve similar success.

William Edgerly,

James Tooley takes us back through time in a narrative that should remind us that human endeavor in general is born at an individual level; and if the endeavor is healthy it will persist through time through the dedication of individuals that share a common dream. This is the story of the SABIS® adventure in education, and it is a story of success born through personal interest and commitment to serve others. It is also the story of real solidarity; for true solidarity can only exist at an individual or small community level, as opposed to the fallacious conception that education can prosper through political centralization. This is the tragedy of the commons and of failing education all over the world; to think that the responsibility of preparing our sons and daughters for their life adventure can be delegated to a government monopoly is a dangerous delusion, and all the evidence is there for all who want to see. And before I forget... The book is very well written and entertaining, as it takes you back through time and events that enthrall and remind us that great things can be birthed in the most humble of places. To read the entire comment, visit http://amzn.to/SchOVp.

John A. Bennett N., (Miami, Florida USA)

I don't know if it is because I am so familiar with SABIS® schools or if it is Tooley’s writing style, but I found this book the best I have read in a long time. I enjoyed the history and fell in love with ‘Hero’. I have come to realize that I am called to become involved with organizations that bring tears to my eyes and this book did.

Scott McOwen,

Simply put, SABIS® is a miraculous achievement.

Fawzi E. Farah, CEO – Partner, CFH Group

The SABIS® legacy is very dear to our hearts, and a source of pride. I hope that it will be maintained for many generations to come.

Wafa F. Saab, CEO, Tinol Paints International Co. sal

SABIS® has shaped generations and generations of human beings. Every Lebanese person should be proud of SABIS®, which is the best Ambassador that Lebanon can have.

Maroun Kyrillos, Chairman, Himaya

This book is a wonderful testimony to hard work, dedication and love. Prof Tooley is a compassionate author who succeeded in bringing the SABIS® story to life - it could form the basis for a movie script!

Francois du Toit,

At first I didn't start reading the book at the very beginning. I was giddy with excitement and couldn’t help skipping to familiar names and places! Eventually I calmed down, started at the beginning and I then I just couldn't bring myself to put it down! I am so lucky to have been a part of the SABIS® story. As I read the book, I could still feel Mr. Bistany and Mrs. Saad's passion living on through all of you!

Rachel Hildebrandt,

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The SABIS® Story