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Views on Society on Volunteer Activities

Source: Chapter 5: Volunteer Activities from Monograph vol.53, " Relationship with Society - the Social Awareness of High School Students" edited by the Educational Research Center, Benesse Corporation, May 1, 1998 (Supervising Editor: Dr. Masashi Fukaya, Professor, Tokyo Seitoku Junior College)


(1) Research Objective of the Survey, "Volunteer Activities of High School Students"

High school students nowadays seem more interested in their daily life and familiar issues, than the future. Do they think about society, different cultures, and issues of global environment? Is there a new type of social perception or interest in volunteer activities? The purpose of this research is to clarify their social perceptions and valuation of society.

(2) Survey Method

This survey covers 1,699 students of 6 high schools in 5 prefectures (5 public schools and 1 private school). By gender, 903 are male and 792 are female, 4 are unknown. By grade, 891 students are seventh graders, 649 are eighth graders, 155 are ninth graders, and 4 are unknown. The survey was conducted in October and November 1997.


(1) Volunteer Activities by High School Students

The highest percentage of the students (43.6%) who joined volunteer activities, joined as a part of the school curriculum or school events: 25.3% volunteered through their schools; 19.5% took part in volunteer groups or organizations; 11.7% joined on an individual basis. Thus, many students join these activities through schools rather than on personal initiative (Table 1). 75% of those who joined such activities volunteered only one to three days (Table 2). Many activities are related to the preservation of nature and the environment, such as picking up garbage, cleaning up the community, collection of empty cans and recycling waste materials.

(2) Gender Differences in Volunteer Activities

Female students have more experience in volunteer activities than male students (40.9% for males and 49.0% for females) and are more satisfied with those activities (Table 3). 34.8% of the female students expressed a desire to take part in such activities if given the opportunity, while the ratio was only 15.2% for male students (Table 4).

(3) Volunteer Activities through Schools

55.2% of the students who have no experience in volunteer activities wished to take part in such activities if possible (Table 5). There are more students who think their schools should provide them with these opportunities than those who do not (Table 6, Table 7). 90.5% of the students who participated on a voluntary basis felt satisfied while only 80.5% of those who joined such programs as school events were satisfied (Table 8). It is, however, still meaningful for schools to introduce volunteer activities. When schools have such a program, the students tend to become more positive and active in volunteer activities (Table 9).

(4) Views on Volunteer Activities

71.2% of the students support the voluntary nature of these activities and 72.2% like the idea of not receiving compensation. 58.4% think that they should volunteer for their own sake; 57.6% consider it an obligation as a member of the community (Table 10). Three out of four think that high school students should engage more in volunteer activities (Table 11). Those with experience in volunteer activities are very positive about such involvement regardless of the reasons for participation.

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