For those who work in the adult and community education sector, the link between learning and wellbeing is very clear, however ‘wellbeing’ is not an easy concept to quantify.
In a recent briefing briefing paper from the NSW parliamentary research service titled ‘Measuring wellbeing’, Talina Drabsch explores the historical context and five main approaches of measuring wellbeing and analyses the debate over whether public policy should in fact be concerned with maximising the happiness of individuals. The advantages thought to accrue from enhancing societal wellbeing are highlighted, and these include benefits to individuals as well as to society as a whole.
“Interest in measuring the wellbeing of societies and the individuals which comprise them is not new and there has been research in this area for a number of decades. However, the interest in measuring wellbeing has been growing over the last decade or so and particularly seems to have gained some momentum in recent times as a result of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Some view the GFC as proof of the damage that can result by too great a focus on continual economic growth regardless of the cost and by ignoring the other factors that contribute to wellbeing,” Ms Drabsch says.