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Historically, social classes are common societal division in every exited society, indicating various statuses among its own people. As for American society, according to Warner (1940s) social class is categorized into five groups such as upper class, upper middle class, lower middle class, upper lower class and lower class. There is, however, little doubt that wealthy class has better resources and means to achieve the desired goal. Students from better social class must, therefore, have better access to education and receive higher scale of achievement in school. Indeed, in order to gain better insights into the influence of social class on school achievement, a proposed question is set out on this purpose. (1) Why are high-class students likely to be successful in school?
Part of learning facilities is school uniforms. Bray and Seng (2005) make a clear comparison between wealthy and unwealthy students, maintaining that students from prosperous or medium-income family commonly can afford two new clothes every year, whereas pupils in poor family commonly have one uniform or none at all. Pupils from prosperous, consequently, gain the upper hand in attending the school than do the pupils from less prosperous family since most schools in Cambodia require students to wear school uniform to attend the class. Another part of learning facilities is learning materials. As Bray and Seng (2005) outlined in their book "Household Financing of Basic Education in Cambodia", students spend large sum of money on learning materials such as notebooks, exercise books, and other supplies ranging from pens, pencils, rubbers, rulers and the like. It is logical to conclude that only students from prosperous family can fully afford to buy such costly materials; therefore, they are more likely to be successful than other students from less wealthy family. Gaining access to such costly learning materials, in addition, is a source of motivation for wealthy students; however, it is unfortunate for poor pupils. Burt (1945) stresses the importance source of low motivation from lower working class, who is, by tradition, outside educational system (as cited in Lawton, 2001, P.7). According to Burt, if students from higher class might, though he did mention, have higher probability in succeeding in school than those from lower class.
Out-of-school expense or supplementary tutoring, substantial private activity, is another major expense not only in Cambodia but also in other countries. Tutoring in Cambodia is taught to students by their own teacher and it take place at student's home, especially at the end of the official school day. This practice is a particularly vital item of household expenditure (Bray 1999b, 2003a; Foondun 2002; Yoo 2002; Kwok 2004, as cited in Bary and Seng, PP. 11 and ADB 1996a & Bray 1999a, as cited in Bray, P. 47). It can be inferred that only more prosperous students can afford to hire tutor for this out-of-school class. If they receive more extra classes, they would be better informed about their academic performance at school.
Cambodian pupils throughout the country use bicycle as their main means of transportation. Some children walk to school while others are transported by their parents. Many pupils, however, start riding bicycle as they proceed from one class to another (Bray and Seng, 2005). Accordingly, it might not be lucky for poor students to afford bicycle. However, owning bicycle, students must extra money for purchasing and maintaining. Bray and Seng (2005) provide a clear evident.
In Phnom Penh, pupils had to pay not only for initial purchase and maintenance of bicycles but also for daily parking. In Bak Touk school, for example Grade 6 pupils had to pay an average of 7,200 riels per annum for parking, and grade 9 pupils paid as much as 43,600 riels.
There is enough evident to conclude that high class students are likely to be more successful in school. As mentioned earlier, learning facilities play a vital role in child's achievement in school. As in Cambodian context, students from lower class might not have enough resource to support their learning materials, except high class students with enough of resource. Rich students only have enough learning resource, but many of them also can afford to have supplementary tutoring, making them even better with their school academic performance. Transportation is also accounted for students' success in school. Wealthy students have better means of transportation to school, unlike less wealthy students who have limited means to school.