Nearly 80 percent of the country’s schoolchildren feel happy, according to the results of an opinion poll conducted by monthly magazine Happiness Republic.
The poll of Grade 3 to Grade 6 students in 44 elementary schools around Taiwan found that 79.9 percent of the respondents said they feel happy. A total of 2,269 valid samples were collected in the survey.
Nevertheless, the poll found only 76.1 percent of the respondents said they are happy to go to school — a figure that was 88.8 percent in a similar poll by the magazine in 2005 — and the lowest in seven years since the magazine first launched the poll in 2001.
A total of 62.4 percent of the respondents said they are happier this year than last year.
Reasons cited by the schoolchildren for their happiness included “having a warm family” and “parents taking them out for fun.” Only 9.8 percent cited “not having to worry about food or clothing” as a factor contributing to their happiness, the poll found.
By comparison, 6.7 percent of the respondents expressed obvious unhappiness about themselves and their lives.
Among this group, nearly 60 percent cited a heavy school workload as a source of unhappiness, followed by those who cited punishment by their parents and financial difficulties in their homes as reasons for their unhappiness.
The poll also found that the issue of “ethnic conflict” bothered some schoolchildren. Chai Sung-lin, a psychiatrist and sociologist who was formerly a national policy adviser to President Chen Shui-bian, said it sends out an alarming message, as one-fourth of the respondents who said they “suffered from ethnic problems” were children of foreign women married to Taiwanese men.
By region, northern Taiwan showed the highest percentage of happy schoolchildren, while those in central, southern and eastern parts of the country were less happy than their northern counterparts.
The relatively unhappy respondents cited their families’ economic conditions, heavy school workload and tense mother-child relations, in that order, as reasons for their unhappiness, the poll found.