UAE concerned by alarming rate of high school dropouts

Study finds almost 7 out of 10 males in the United Arab Emirates do not graduate high school on time.

UAE citizens illustrative 311 (photo credit: AP)
UAE citizens illustrative 311
(photo credit: AP)
An alarmingly high percentage of male Emirati students do not finish high school on time, a new study has found.
The annual report by the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau, which supervises the United Arab Emirates’ education system alongside the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, found that only 32 percent of male students complete high school on time.
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“Current figures suggest 32 percent would graduate on time, 47 would be kept behind at least once and thus cannot graduate on time, and 21 would leave education permanently” the report read. “The weaknesses in the public school curriculum, coupled with the high dropout rate, severely restrict the number of national students able to enroll at high status universities without an initial foundation year prior to embarking upon formal undergraduate study.”
The study is based on data collected through 1500 interviews by government inspectors with students and staff during visits to around 15,000 classes. Data was also collected from some 80,000 parents through an online questionnaire.
The study found 12 percent of all schools to have unsatisfactory performance.
“There is plenty of room for improvement in education in the United Arab Emirates,” Emirati columnist Sultan Al Qassemi told The Media Line.
The study measured student progress in five mandatory subjects: Islamic education, Arabic, English, mathematics and science.
A diverse country with expats from all over the world making up the majority of the population of many urban centers, the UAE has seven different school systems, each with its own curriculum. The only constants between the different systems are the five mandatory subjects looked at in the report.
Based on the number of schools, the largest system is the public school system, whose curriculum is set by the Ministry of Education. There are also a number of private schools which teach the same curriculum.
The major groups of the expat population each have their own system, including the American, British and Indian school systems. Smaller communities such as Japanese, Russian and Filipino expats are grouped together in one school system, while a seventh system teaches an International Bachelorette curriculum.