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The origin of teachers' day in China

Sep 11, 2018

Before the founding of new China, there were two versions of teacher's day. The first was the "June 6" edition of Teacher's Day, spontaneously organized by educators in 1931, which called for better treatment of teachers. The second is the "lunar calendar August 27th" teacher's day, established by the Ministry of education of the Kuomintang government in 1939. However, the former Kuomintang government refused to admit that the latter had not been implemented nationwide because of war and other reasons. 

In 1931, educators Shao Shuangqiu and Cheng Qibao contacted the educational circles in Beijing and Shanghai. They gathered at Nanjing Central University and issued a declaration calling for "improving the treatment of teachers, ensuring the work of teachers and improving their accomplishment", and agreed that June 6 was Teachers'Day, also known as Double Sixth Festival. This Teacher's Day was not recognized by the Kuomintang government at that time, but it had a certain impact in various parts of China.

In 1939, the Kuomintang government decided to establish August 27, Confucius'birthday, as Teacher's Day, and issued the Interim Measures for the Commemoration of Teacher's Day, but at that time it could not be implemented throughout the country.

Since the founding of New China, the Central People's Government has resumed June 6 as Teacher's Day. The Ministry of Education has notified educators everywhere to organize their own celebrations according to the actual situation.

In 1951, the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China and the All-China Federation of Trade union  s jointly agreed that the International Labor Day on May 1 should be regarded as the Teacher's Day of China. However, due to the lack of teachers on this day, the result of implementation is not satisfactory. Especially after 1957, under the influence of the Left-leaning ideology, teachers are not valued, Teacher's Day in fact no longer exists.

In March 1981, at the 4th meeting of the Fifth National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, 17 CPPCC members of the China Association for the Promotion of Democracy jointly submitted a proposal to determine the national teachers'festivals and activities. The proposal points out that teachers shoulder the heavy responsibility of training talents for the four modernizations and should enjoy a high social status.

In April 1982, the Party group of the Ministry of Education and the branch group of the national education trade union   jointly issued by Zhang Chengxian and Fang Ming "on the resumption of Teacher's Day" request report sent to the Central Secretariat, the report and proposed that Marx's birthday May 5 as Teacher's Day.

At the sixth session of the CPPCC National Committee in March 1983, Fang Ming and 18 members of the CPPCC National Committee of the People's Republic of China jointly proposed again that "in order to improve the social status of teachers and create a social fashion of respecting and emphasizing teachers, teachers'festivals should be restored". In September, the General Office of the Ministry of Propaganda sent a letter to the General Office of the Ministry of Education. After studying the proposal of Comrade Fang Ming at a meeting of the CPPCC, it agreed to resume Teacher's Day. In December, the instructions on the resumption of Teacher's Day issued jointly by Minister He Dongchang and Fang Ming of the Ministry of Education and the sub-group of the National Education Trade union   were sent to the Central Propaganda Department.

On December 15, 1984, Zhong Jingwen, Qigong, Wang Zikun, Tao Dafu, Zhu Zhixian, Huangji and Zhao Qingfu of Beijing Normal University jointly proposed the establishment of Teachers'Day. The "Report on the Establishment of Teacher's Day" by the Party Group of the Ministry of Education and the Party Group of the National Education Trade union   was sent to the Central Secretariat and reported to the State Council.

In January 1985, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress passed the bill, which designates September 10 as Teachers'Day every year. On September 10, 1985, Chinese President Li Xiannian issued a Letter to Teachers throughout the country, held grand celebrations throughout China, and commended 11871 provincial outstanding teachers collectives and individuals in 20 provinces and municipalities during the Teachers'Day.

Before 1997, the Teachers'Day in Hong Kong was scheduled for September 28 (Confucius' Birthday) every year. After the handover, it was changed to September 10 every year, following the regulations of the Mainland of China.

In Taiwan, since 1952, the Taiwanese authorities have designated September 28 as Confucius'Birthday and Teacher's Day, and this does not change with the change of teachers' festivals in mainland China.

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