In Japan, 29.8 percent of 15-year-olds agreed with the statement “I feel lonely,” placing Japan at the top of the list of 24 countries. Next highest was Iceland at 10.3 percent. The Netherlands had the lowest figure, at 2.9 percent.
Furthermore, the percentage of respondents who agreed with the statement “I feel awkward,” reached 18.1 percent in Japan, again placing the country at the top of the list. The corresponding figure in the Netherlands was 6.9 percent. In the 40 categories overall, the Netherlands came out in top position in terms of children’s happiness.
The Netherlands emphasizes individual education that features both independent and joint learning. In elementary school classrooms, it is reportedly common to see students divided into groups of about five, each working through different topics. There is no single textbook for everyone; the children are given appropriate teaching materials matching their proficiency.
“Instead of reform that places a disproportionate emphasis on academic ability, I want them to aim for the comprehensive development of students as humans,” she said in her lecture. “I don’t think that Dutch education is the best, but I think the results of the survey on children’s happiness at least show the importance of lending an ear to each and every child.”
Source: Addressing the loneliness of children in materially affluent Japan (Mainichi)