Happy schools! A framework for learner well-being in the Asia-Pacific

Toolkits & Guides
UNESCO Office Bangkok
94 p.

In view of the important relationship between happiness and the quality of education, in June 2014 UNESCO Bangkok launched the Happy Schools Project. This report presents the Happy Schools Framework and aims to bring these two elements together by calling for education systems to shift away from traditional measures and to instead embrace a diversity of talents and intelligences by recognizing values, strengths and competencies that contribute to enhancing happiness. Or in other words, it calls on the need for education systems to ’measure what we treasure’: ‘If you treasure it, measure it. If schools do not measure the well-being of their children but do measure their intellectual development, the latter will always take precedence’ (Layard and Hagell, 2015). Aimed at influencing policymakers as well as engaging the school level, it is hoped that this report and the Happy Schools Framework therein will provide an integral reference in view of rethinking conceptions of the quality of learning so as to look beyond strictly academic domains.This report presents the findings of a study based on several research methods, including a desk study, a survey, a seminar and a workshop with school-level stakeholders. It explores the global and regional context in terms of theories of happiness and global initiatives, and how happiness is reflected in the development and education policies of selected countries in the Asia-Pacific region. It then presents the main outcome of the study: the Happy Schools Framework, which consists of 22 criteria for a happy school, as well as examples of strategies for reaching each of the criteria in schools.

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