ESTIMATING THE DETERMINANTS OF HAPPINESS AMONG PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS IN MALAYSIA
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Teachers play an important role in nurturing human resources. Old wisdom regards teachers as the “engineer of the human soul”. Teacher happiness is very important since a happy teacher is productive, allowing him/her to play his/her role effectively. We need to understand the determinants of teacher happiness to formulate better policies for teachers. The objectives of the study are to examine the level of happiness of primary school teachers in Malaysia and its determinants. Ordered logit models are estimated using data from a random sample of 1,510 primary school teachers in Perlis, Kedah, and Penang. The descriptive statistics analysis reveals that, on average, the teachers are happy with their life but with a substantial variance. Aspiration is found to be an important determinant of happiness. Other determinants of happiness include religiosity (strength in religion, all religions teach morality in schools), the interaction between aspiration and religiosity, targeted life goals, achievement of life goals, and school environment. To increase the happiness of primary school teachers, the government needs to focus on the teachers’ aspiration, their life goals, religiosity, and the school environment. Thus, tangible and non-tangible rewards are needed to improve teacher happiness.
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