HK students happiest in five years: survey

August 28, 2019 18:27
The more free time the students are given, the more they find their life valuable, the survey shows. Photo: CNSA

An index of happiness of schoolchildren in Hong Kong has hit a five-year high, at least before the onset of the anti-extradition bill movement, although older students tend to feel less happy, a study conducted by the Chu Hai College of Higher Education showed.

According to the college’s Polling and Public Opinion Centre, the overall happiness index among Primary Four to Secondary Three students rose to 6.81 out of 10, from 6.73 in a previous study, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The center, which released the findings of its Hong Kong Children's Happiness and Life Education survey on Tuesday, interviewed more than 4,800 schoolchildren from 15 primary and 10 secondary schools with questionnaires between April and early June.

Apart from interviews with schoolchildren, the survey also took responses from 197 teachers.

The period covered was just before the start of the current social unrest stemming from the now-suspended extradition bill.

The survey results showed that the more free time the students are given, the more they find their life valuable, the researchers said.

The overall score of happiness reached the highest level in five years.

For those aged 9 and below, the happiness index was 7.38, compared with only 6.03 for those aged 15 and above.

The secondary school level had the highest proportion of “very unhappy” students at 6.2 percent.

Professor Ho Lok-sang, the center's director, said younger students tend to have a higher happiness index than their older counterparts.

At the same time, however, 5.2 percent of Primary Four students and 6.2 percent of Secondary Three students said that they are very unhappy.

Given society’s current polarization as a result of the anti-government protests, the survey may not accurately reflect the current happiness levels of schoolchildren, Ho said.

The social unrest will no doubt trigger disputes, especially if the students hold views that are different from those of their families and friends, and have a negative effect on their emotions, regardless of their age, he said.

Ho suggested that students stop discussing and arguing about sensitive topics when disagreements arise.

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