Dubai, UAE: More than 1,600 pupils dropped out of public schools across the country during 2013-2014, according to the Ministry of Education.
The majority of drop outs were girls with 1,198 leaving school compared with 460 boys, reported Al Ittihad, the Arabic-language sister newspaper of The National.
The figures also reveal that 3,764 pupils, of which 2,630 were boys and 1,134 girls, failed a year and had to repeat.
Of these 1,518 failed in grades six to nine, or the second cycle, and 2,246 were high schoolers.
Statistics from the ministry showed that the highest rate of drop outs happened in high school.
Of the 1,183 high school drop outs, 815 were girls compared with 368 boys.
In cycle two, 444 pupils left school, with 357 girls and 87 boys, and in cycle one 36 girls left compared with five boys.
But the picture was reversed for pupils repeating a year.
In total 1,579 boys in high school had to repeat the year, compared with 667 girls and in the second cycle it was 1,051 boys and 467 girls.
These figures are in contrast to previous years where the majority of school leavers were boys by as much as 20 per cent in a single year.
A 2011 study by Knowledge and Human Development Authority linked the high percentage of male drop outs with the low quality of education in UAE schools.
The report, Addressing the Early School Leaving Challenge, said pupils dropped out because “the current structure and ethos in UAE public schools does not satisfactorily challenge students with a rigorous and engaging curriculum that is relevant to their everyday lives.”
This leads to a lack of desire to learn and eventually detachment from schools.
The Ministry also said that the total number of pupils in 2013-2014 was 239,020, split between 126,530 girls and 112,490 boys.
Overall there were 101,360 pupils in the first cycle with 52,891 girls and 48,469 boys.
The second cycle had 79,907 pupils, made up of 42,020 girls and 37,887 boys. In high schools, there were 57,753 pupils, of which 31,619 were girls and 26,134 were boys.
© The National