The Correlates of Student Happiness in Thailand: Paradoxes and Potential

Gerald W. Fry, * Meixi, Juthamas Kaewpijit, Rosarin Apahung

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter begins by presenting important historical and cultural context, the most important of which was Thailand’s success in never having been colonized, which has important implications for both education and happiness. The status of happiness studies in Thailand is synthesized, with most studies having focused on happiness in general, not educational happiness. In cross-national surveys reviewed, Thai students rank among the highest in the world in happiness (number 4 out of 64 countries ranked in 2012), one area of education in which Thailand really excels, though in 2018, its rank dropped to number 17 in the world. Thai students on this important criterion of happiness are far above the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average. The reasons for Thai student happiness primarily derive from Buddhist influences such as compassion and the middle path of moderation between a concern for academic excellence and happiness/well-being for students. The chapter concludes with a rich case study of an Indigenous school in northern Thailand, which provides a deep understanding of educational innovations like Tutoría and how they can bring about joyful engaged learning in which students are connected to community and culture in an ambiance of inclusive cultural democracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHappiness Education
Subtitle of host publicationHolistic Learning for Sustainable Well-Being
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781000913385
ISBN (Print)9781032497297
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 selection and editorial matter, Gerald W. Fry and Haelim Chun; individual chapters, the contributors.


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