By Yun Suh-young
As students advance to higher grades and face greater academic pressure, they become less happy and less content with their lives, according to a survey by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education.
The “happiness survey” was conducted on more than 264,314 students at elementary, middle and high schools in Seoul from March 12 to 31.
The happiness index of fifth to sixth graders at elementary school students came in at 4.15 out of a maximum 5 points, but dropped as they moved up to middle and high school. The index for middle school students was 3.7 and that of high school students was 3.43.
The average happiness index of the surveyed students stood at 3.83 compared to the 3.36 in 2011 when the office surveyed 5,352 students.
By category, the happiness level was highest for family life with 4.07 out of 5 and lowest for self-satisfaction with 3.58. The happiness index for school life recorded 3.75.
On average, the happiness level for female students was lower than that of male students at all grade levels. The level of wealth of one’s family also contributed to students’ level of happiness.
Specifically, elementary and middle school students were least happy about not having their opinions reflected actively in the classrooms with the index at 3.58 out of 5.
They felt most happy about connecting well with peers with the index marking 4.45.
High school students, on the other hand, had the lowest happiness level for communicating with friends (3.13) and was most satisfied at the school’s implementation of polices to eliminate school violence (3.7).
“The happiness index is similar to that of UNICEF’s but our survey focused on school life and included family life and self-satisfaction,” said an official from the education office. “We will check students’ happiness levels consistently and ask schools to take the results into consideration when educating them.”