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UAE Raises School Leaving Age to 18

UAE Raises School Leaving Age to 18

News that authorities in the UAE have agreed to raise the school leaving age to 18 from 14 has been welcomed by educationalists.  The draft federal law making it compulsory to attend school until the age of 18 or Grade 12, was endorsed at a Cabinet meeting on Sunday by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The existing law, which says that children may legally choose to leave school by the age of 14, will be amended to prevent pupils dropping out by Grade 10.

At the moment, one in four Emirati boys does not complete secondary school and is not enrolled in any form of education by 25. Stringent penalties are in store for parents who allow their children to drop out of school. A federal draft law suggests a Dh10,000 fine for Emirati parents who neglect a child’s education needs. The existing law listed no consequences for leaving early.

Dr Mike Helal, the Mena regional director for Parkville Global Advisory, which has done many studies on UAE education, said the new law might reverse the trend.

The final wording, however, should be carefully considered. “In the most ambitious systems around the world, pupils are required to remain in a form of schooling until the completion of a Grade 12 equivalent, rather than a particular age.

“In the UAE, for instance, 18-year-old males can be found in Grade 10 or 11 in many state schools due to a high repetition rate.”



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