Promoting Learner Happiness and Well-being

Promoting Learner Happiness and Well-being

The pursuit of happiness has always been the aspiration of all human beings. In recent years, a growing global movement for happiness has been driven by mounting global challenges that are undermining happiness in wider society; namely income inequality, growing intolerance, environmental degradation and unprecedented technological advancement. In schools, learners are also facing the repercussions of such challenges in a world that is more competitive, stress-fueled and test-focused than ever before. At the same time, a growing body of research has highlighted the crucial relationship between happiness and educational quality, whereby schools that prioritize learner wellbeing have the potential to be more effective, with better learning outcomes and greater achievements in learners’ lives. 

The Happy Schools Project was launched by UNESCO Bangkok in June 2014 with the aim of promoting happiness in schools through enhanced learner wellbeing and holistic development. The main outcome of this project was the 2016 publication Happy Schools: A Framework for Learner Well-being in the Asia-Pacific. 3 The report features a framework of 22 criteria for a happy school under three broad categories: 1) People, 2) Process, and 3) Place. Later that year, UNESCO and the Korean Educational Development Institute (KEDI) hosted a regional policy seminar on the theme of “Happy Schools for a Happy Education” in Seoul, Republic of Korea, bringing together a group of education policymakers and practitioners for dialogue.

This thematic brief is a summary of the Happy Schools Project, highlighting key findings from the main publication, including policy recommendations from the aforementioned seminar.

Download the thematic brief Promoting Learner Happiness and Well-being here.

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