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Can I get extra credit for wishing you Happy International Happiness Day?

20 March 2015

I just came across two international stories with very little in common. First, Gallup conducted a survey to find out which countries are the happiest, and released the results today, International Happiness Day.

All of the top 10 countries are in (get ready for it) Latin America. Paraguay topped the list with a giddy 89, well ahead of the 84 posted by the bubbly runners-up: Colombia, Ecuador and Guatemala. The United States was two points short of the top 10, its score of 79 tying with countries as satisfied and sundry as Argentina, the Netherlands, Sweden and Rwanda.

The U. S. score puts its happiness well above the global average of 71. The lowest score was Sudan’s 47, which by the way is nine points behind its recently seceded part, South Sudan. But before we attribute all unhappiness in the world to war, we must note that among the nations in between those two are the relatively peaceful but comparably dour Turkey (54) and Lithuania (55).

There’s just no accounting for what makes people happy. Read the original article from Gallup here.

Meanwhile, in India (which scored 70, tying it with indifferent nations like Ghana, Italy, Jamaica and Poland), 600 Class X students (10th graders) in Bihar have been expelled for cheating on the standard test they must pass in order to continue their schooling.

Now, students cheating would not normally be either newsworthy or potentially viral, but in our electronic-media-saturated world, when there is video of parents climbing the walls of the school to pass cheat sheets to their children, well, to repeat what countless say around the world with such things, you gotta see this.

(I will attest that during my trip to India, many of the educators I spoke with bemoaned the overemphasis on standardized testing in Indian education.)

No report yet from Gallup about India’s happiness score being artificially inflated due to survey respondents sharing answers.


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