STEM education refers to the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the next generation of innovators. Innovation leads to new products and processes that sustain the economy. This innovation and science literacy depends on a solid knowledge base in the STEM areas. It is clear that most jobs of the future will require a basic understanding of math and science. In 2009, the United States Department of Labor listed the ten most wanted employees. Eight of those employees were ones with degrees in the STEM fields. On the other hand, according to H. E. Education Minister Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, Only 3 percent of students choose to study the STEM subjects at university level. In other words, not enough young Cambodians are interested in science, technology, engineering and math.
STEM initiatives were brought about as a means to educate and prepare students to enter STEM fields in future. An ideal STEM education must emphasize the design process, the engineering approach to identifying and solving problems by means of systems thinking, collaboration, and communication. On the other hand, there are too few STEM programs available to meet the needs of the growing number of students that could benefit by a STEM-based education.