Measuring Happiness

Measureing Happiness Education and Kids Real Life Phuket

In 1972 during an interview the then King of BhutanJigme Singye Wangchuck, said “Gross National Happiness (GNH) is more important than Gross National Product (GNP).”

In 2011, The UN General Assembly passed a resolution “Happiness: towards a holistic approach to development” urging member nations to follow the example of Bhutan and measure Happiness and calling it a “fundamental human goal.”

If we believe, that Happiness is a “fundamental human goal”, why are we not focusing on it in our education systems? We measure grades, children’s participation in class, we measure if they do their homework, but how about we measure their Happiness. And then use the results to learn how we adults genuinely care about the needs of our children.

Some weeks ago, UWCT (United World College Thailand) and Yaowawit School, Kapong invited Dr. Julia Kim, Senior Project Director at the GNH Center in Bhutan to introduce the idea of measuring Happiness in our schools. Students, the leadership teams and teachers of both schools were very excited about the project and decided to immediately start working on it.

In Bhutan, they use nine indicators to measure happiness: Psychological Wellbeing, Health, Time Use, Education, Cultural Diversity and Resilience, Good Governance, Community Vitality, Living Standards and Ecological Diversity and Resilience. On the foundation of those Bhutanese indicators of Happiness, teams of adults and students are working on defining what Happiness means for children. They will develop a measuring system, so that the learning environments will focus, besides how students are doing academically, on their Happiness – another important step to make education more successful in the 21st century.

Philipp Graf von Hardenberg
Philipp Graf von Hardenberg

Dr. h.c. Philipp Graf von Hardenberg is Founder of the Yaowawit School Kapong in Phang Nga (, President of the Thanyapura Health and Sports Resort Phuket (, Chairman of the United World College Thailand ( and a member of the International Development Committee of the United World College ( movement

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