Emirati children to stay at school until after Grade 12

New law will prevent pupils from leaving when they are 14.

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A federal law to make it compulsory for Emirati children to remain in school until they have completed Grade 12 is undergoing its final approval stage.

Currently, pupils may leave school at 14. However, the new law, which was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislations yesterday, would mean children would have to remain in education until they have finished Grade 12.

This is normally when they are between 16 and 18, depending on how quickly they have completed the previous grades.

Many Emirati pupils drop out in Grade 10 at Government schools to take jobs that do not require a school certificate.

Ali Mihad Al Suwaidi, assistant undersecretary of the Ministry of Education, said last night that discussions had focused on bringing the compulsory school-leaving age more in line with many other countries across the world.

"When the law is passed, it will require all pupils to complete Grade 12," said Mr Al Suwaidi.

He said the draft law had been prepared and approved but would now be discussed by the Cabinet and other federal bodies before being implemented.

Raising the compulsory leaving age is also on the ministry's 2010-2020 agenda. The current law is not always enforced and some children drop out of school earlier.