University of Oulu

Ahonen, P. A., Jeronen, E., Korkeamäki, R-L. (2018) How to live happy and good life? : Secondary school students’ views about Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness policy. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, (13) 9, 703-718.

How to live happy and good life? : secondary school students’ views about Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness policy

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Author: Ahonen, Päivi Anneli1; Jeronen, Eila1; Korkeamäki, Riitta-Liisa1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Look Academic Publishers, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-10-31


The Bhutanese Gross National Happiness (GNH) development policy highlights traditional Bhutanese values promoting environmentally friendly, collective, societal happiness. In this case study, we describe the Bhutanese secondary school students’ views about happiness and good life and view the values behind the GNH-policy-based teaching. The writings of 178 students, responding the questions addressing these topics, were analyzed using the thematic content analyses method based on GNH pillars and domains. The most important reason bringing happiness and good life, according to the students is good governance, and the second important reason is sustainable and equitable socio-economic development. Many of the students wrote that happiness and good life mean problem-free life. The values such as compassion, calmness and gratitude, occurred in many writings. Many students wrote about happiness, peace, equality and the importance of family relations. Least references on happiness and good life were related to the conservation of environment. Reason for the students not mentioning environment may be Bhutanese traditions to respect nature and environment in everyday life. The students’ views were well connected with the GNH policy focused education and teaching. They reflect well the history of Bhutan, values connected Buddhist principles and the recent democratic development going on in Bhutan. The knowledge of cultures outside Bhutan was fairly low, so the basic education can be developed by adding to the curriculum the knowledge of different cultures.

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Series: International journal of environmental and science education
ISSN: 1306-3065
ISSN-E: 1306-3065
ISSN-L: 1306-3065
Volume: 13
Issue: 9
Pages: 703 - 718
Article number: ijese.2018.062
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Copyright information: © 2018 The Author(s). Open Access terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( apply. The license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, on the condition that users give exact credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if they made any changes.