Saturday, February 11, 2012

But Are Young People Happy?

Continuing from my previous post, I was unsatisfied after adding this fifth criterion, which considers the various educational systems' abilities to feed modern economies, fundamentally because I know that there is more to life than economics, and I felt that the various criteria (average student attainment, achievement, unemployment rates for special needs students, research university rankings, and workforce supply) probably gave too much emphasis to economic considerations. I consider the noblest of educational aims to be enlightenment, as sought for example in Zen monasteries and similar religious institutions; yet I do not see how to measure that or work it into a procedure for educational system rankings; but I do know that education, while the major concern of our children's upbringing, is not coextensive with it: there is more to life, and to growing up, than education. I have seen close up at least one culture (South Korea's) where education plays such a large role in the lives of the young as to be oppressive, at least in the most extreme families. So I went back to some old research I had seen, which claimed (about five years ago) that Dutch teens were the happiest in the world, read updated and improved research related to this topic (child well-being, broadly considered) from the OECD, and adjusted my informal assessments of the various systems according to this criterion as well, that is, to how well a nation's (or state's, or any other appropriately sovereign educational jurisdiction's) educational system fits into what is, overall, a happy, safe, and effective upbringing of the young.

In my next post I will reveal the educational jurisdiction that provides the best overall system in the world, according to these six criteria.

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