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Happiness and Education

Updated: May 24, 2019

Just because something is considered non-academic does not mean it is not valuable. Sometimes, we get caught up in our university level of wisdom; however, there are times we need something different than just an academic education. This difference is the kind of wisdom that is not truly obtained by going to university, even to the most prestigious ones. This wisdom comes from happiness.

I am not an advocate of not going to school. I even encourage everyone who has opportunities to go to or stay in school. I would advise my friends and family to finish university or college if they can. I would also tell someone that if the opportunity to get educated isn't available, "that's alright too". Life is unfair at times but it won't always be unfair. Not being able to afford education has its own benefits too. Sometimes, in order to be happy, education is sacrificed.

For example, third world countries such as the Philippines prove that life is tough and poverty is proliferating. Education is not given enough value in the country which makes public schools suffer. Statistically, their student to teacher ratio averages 30:1, meanwhile in Canada, a first world country there is a ratio of 18:1. But when I was in the Philippines, I saw elementary public school classroom sizes with a whopping 120 students for 1 teacher. I experienced first-hand because I volunteered to assist in a public school a long time ago. This just shows a facet of poverty. But, despite serious issues like this, many would agree that Filipinos are generally happy.

Statistically, there are still plenty of mental illnesses in the country but this rate is not as high as in the western world. According to, the Philippines was categorized to be in the 10% share of the world's population with mental health and substance use disorders in 2017. The first world western countries such as Canada or the USA shared at least 15%. This could signify that the Philippines has a population experiencing a higher rate of happiness compared with Canada or the USA.

Many travelers and people from all over the world will comment that Filipinos are "always happy". Filipinos are always happens which cause can be the repercussion of poverty. The Philippines has gone through so much history. They experienced unpleasant events such as mistreatment from conquerors and tyrants. There has also been a long history of corruption within the government which has made the nation suffer. Surviving all these events, left Filipinos with no choice but to have a positive mindset. All in all, it resulted Filipinos being "always happy".

This does not mean that I am an advocate of poverty to promote happiness. But rather there are lessons that can possibly be learned. For the Philippines, if they were to increase their investment in education, would that 10% incidence of mental issues and substance disorder go lower? The Philippines is categorically in the happiest countries in the world along with many other poorer countries. Does the country need to aim to lower the 10% lower and set as a model country?

For progressive countries such as Canada or USA, 15% of its population suffers from mental illness or drug disorder. Do we need to suffer poverty to bring that number down to 10%? Or maybe better invest in more education to eventually bring that ratio down to 10% or even lower? Should 15% be a just the sweet spot?

President Rodrigo Duterte, also as Du30 or Digong, is known for imposing extrajudicial killing in the Philippines in resolution to the countries problem with illegal substances. This caught the attention of the world. Many supported this but many raised questions about the morality of this act. Is this act sufficient to resolve the drug problems? Would education be a better alternative than killing beyond the jurisdiction? This photo is credited to Ezra Acayan / Reuters

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