A major study will try to work out why so many Emirati boys drop out of school.
The Emirates Foundation announced yesterday a grant of up to Dh180,000 to the Dubai School of Government for two research projects.
One will study the high rate of male dropouts, while the other will consider ways of keeping teachers motivated.
Sammar Farah, a researcher on the project from Dubai School of Government, said the rejection of education by boys was a "pressing matter".
Dr Natasha Ridge, who will lead the 18-month project, said: "We only have assumptions at the moment and some cases, which does not give us the bigger picture of things."
In 2008, about 22 per cent of men and 14 per cent of women between 20 and 24 had dropped out of school, according to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, the Dubai schools regulator.
The assumption has been that financial pressures and poor motivation have been the principal causes.
"Is it because of easy options, or because the boys are just not happy in school?" Dr Ridge asked. "We don't know. Some feel they need to drop out to find work, or might be pressured by friends, who have also dropped out."
The researchers will also produce a documentary film on boys' experience of school and work.
The project on teachers will look at Ras al Khaimah's schools and see what motivates teachers from different backgrounds.
"No one goes into teaching for the money, people go into teaching for other reasons," Dr Ridge said. "This would be a cross-cultural examination to see how different people value certain things more than others."
Both projects are to start in the next couple of months.