Only 32 out of every 100 male Emirati students graduate on time, according to the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau's annual report.
Forty-seven fail grades and another 21 drop out out of 100, the report added.
"It is a big problem. It affects the whole community. It affects career planning. You look at social issues - crime. The societal effect of this is clear," said Dr Abdulla al Karam, the director general of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), in comments published in UAE daily The National.
"If somebody is not educated and he or she starts a family, not having that parent have an education does affect the life of the family in the future," he added.
The KHDA report also said that there may be a link between the narrow scope of the Ministry of Education curriculum and the high number of school leavers, the paper added.
Figures in the KHDA report from the Dubai Statistics Centre's 2008 Labour Force Study found that 22 percent of males and 14 percent of females between the ages of 20 and 24 had dropped out of school.
More than 24 per cent of boys and 11 per cent of girls failed the 10th grade last year in Dubai, the report added.