Around the world, students face various pressures that can lead to low morale, diminished academic achievement and overwhelming stress. Education is linked to a sense of control, appreciation and engagement over one’s own life, which can help to increase the overall levels of happiness.
So, what countries have the happiest students? This article examines the subjective wellbeing of students in countries across the globe and provides a comprehensive insight into which ones have the most content pupils.
What is Subjective Wellbeing?
Subjective wellbeing (SWB) is the scientific measurement of a person’s quality of life by providing a score for the level of overall life satisfaction. It is composed of three distinct elements, namely pleasure, meaning and eudaimonic living.
Pleasure is defined as the level of positive emotion, meaning is the connections made with larger ideals and eudaimonic living involves using the talents, desires and passions in pursuit of an ideal outcome. When combined, these three fulfill a person’s level of contentment with their life. Studies have indicated a strong link between SWB and educational engagement, as well as academic achievement.
Those with higher levels of overall contentment tend to not only benefit from higher performance in the classroom, but can relax better and participate in a wider range of activities outside of school work. As a result, there is an increased focus on boosting student morale, self-esteem and overall contentment around the world.
The Factors that Impact Student SWB
Low levels of education are certainly linked with lower levels of subjective wellbeing, but there are various other characteristics that can improve or diminish a student’s experience of contentment. Firstly, many social factors can lead to elevated or impaired levels of SWB.
An environment of inclusion, understanding and respect are all beneficial, as are strong connections with family, friends and teachers. However, relationships with bullies and unsupportive peers can result in damaged morale. These social interactions should foster a feeling of safety and protection in order for pupils to thrive.
Another key element includes economic security, which has been linked to elevated levels of self-esteem and contentment. If a student feels safe and secure in their environment, SWB is likely to be higher. Moreover, freedom of expression is also key, as this allows individuals to be engaged with the world and find their own purpose in life.
Analyzing the Countries
Countries across the world are certainly responding in different ways when it comes to boosting overall SWB in students. The key data points used to determine this include average education scores, as well as the three elements of SWB (pleasure, meaning and eudaimonic living).
Firstly, Finland is one of the top nations when it comes to ensuring high educational performance and concentrated levels of contentment. Finlands students are among the most successful in the world due to the strong emphasis placed on collaborative learning and individual self-expression. Classes are often composed of small groups, allowing the teachers to better assess the needs of each student.
Moreover, pupils are encouraged to pursue the topics that they deem to be the most interesting and are given the freedom to express themselves in a creative manner. Denmark is another country with a particularly high score for SWB in students, with a large amount of time dedicated to extracurricular activities, classes with maximum size of 25 pupils and an emphasis on lifelong learning. Denmark’s strong sense of community and education priority combine to make for an environment in which contentment can thrive.
Likewise, Japan also fares well in terms of educational performance, with strong SWB scores largely due to the respect that students are given from the general public, as well as their peers. Singapore is another standout in terms of delivering happiness to students, with a large amount of focus on collaboration, social innovation and utilizing technology.
Singapore has also developed a system of values and virtues in order to cultivate a sense of spirituality, meaning and compassion. Moreover, the strong sense of pride that exists in Singaporean culture is also beneficial for students, allowing them to have strong values and beliefs that will serve them throughout their adult life. In Portugal, the social relationship between students, teachers and the community is one of the key elements in boosting overall contentment.
School uniforms, respectful interactions with teachers and a large amount of physical activity are also essential in helping students feel safe and secure. The high levels of pride in the culture are also helpful, with this sense of national pride encouraging active participation in all aspects of life.
Finally, the United States is another nation with high SWB levels, due to the strong emphasis on self-expression and acceptance. There are an array of extracurricular activities available to students, a large number of creative outlets (including art, music and film) and a generally inclusive culture.
It is clear from this analysis that there are a variety of different elements that can help to boost the morale and contentment of students around the world. Clear education policies, a focus on social relationships, economic security, freedom of expression and a strong sense of national pride are all beneficial in leading to higher scores of subjective wellbeing.
The countries that have harnessed these components in order to achieve the highest levels of student contentment include Finland, Denmark, Japan, Singapore, Portugal and the United States.