Factors Affecting Cambodian Upper Secondary School Students’ Choice of Science Track





Upper secondary school years have been considered as a critical period for attracting students into future science-related majors and careers; yet, Cambodia is facing a worrisome decline trend in the students’ choice of science track. Through the lens of the making of engineers and scientists conceptual framework, the study aims to investigate the factors affecting Cambodian upper secondary school students’ choice of science track. With self-rating questionnaire survey, which randomly covered 751 11th graders in nine upper secondary schools in three provinces of Cambodia, the researcher collected data on three significant factors namely individual ability and personality, family background and encouragement, and upper secondary school experience and support. Binary logistic regression analysis revealed that performance in science and mathematics subjects, attitude towards science, plan to major in STEM, time spent self-studying in science and mathematics subjects, family encouragement, mother’s education, and school location significantly predicted students’ choice of science track. Some important implications for pedagogical orientation were also discussed.

Author Biographies

Kao Sovansophal, Hiroshima University

Mr. Kao is currently a graduate student at Hiroshima University, Japan. His research interest ranges from quality assurance in higher education, tracer studies, and higher education academic major choice. Currently he is working on policy to promote enrolment in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) majors in higher education of Cambodia.

Before coming to Hiroshima Mr. Kao has also served as the official of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Kingdom of Cambodia where he was working on the promotion of students’ enrolment into higher education. Apart from this, previously served as the head of development and innovation grant—grant aiming to promote research culture among the faculty staff of Cambodian higher education institutions.

Shimizu Kinya, Hiroshima University

Dr. Shimizu is a professor in the Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation, Hiroshima University, Japan.


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How to Cite

Sovansophal, K., & Kinya, S. (2020). Factors Affecting Cambodian Upper Secondary School Students’ Choice of Science Track. International Journal of Sociology of Education, 9(3), 262–292. https://doi.org/10.17583/rise.2020.4823