UNESCO: Happy Schools a framework for learner well-being in the Asia Pacific

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All human beings aspire to be happy, and as the philosopher Aristotle is often cited to have said: ‘Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence’ (Crisp, 2000). Indeed, all human endeavours, starting from birth and throughout life, are pursued to this end, and require for happiness to be embedded within them. The schooling experience is perhaps the most influential of these endeavours in terms of shaping the course of our lives. Schools that can promote happiness, referred to in this report as ‘happy schools’, are key to ensuring better well-being, health, and achievement as well as success in future life and work. Education systems must also value the unique strengths and talents of learners by recognizing that there are ‘multiple intelligences’ that each deserve equal importance (Gardner, 1993). As such, promoting learner happiness and well-being in schools does not imply that learning be made easier or require less effort, but rather, that such approaches could help fuel a genuine love of learning in and of itself.

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