Date 29/08/2015

TEACHERS’ DAY



TEACHERS’ DAY
Translated by Mr. Watthana Munmuangsaenand Dr. Stephen Conlon

Meaning

Kru or Guru means a person who teaches or disseminates knowledge to students.

History

Kru’s day was held for the first time on January 16, 1957. It was established under the Teachers’ Act which was promulgated in the government gazette in 1945. It was refined by a council in the Ministry of Education, called Kuru Sabha (Council of Teachers). The Teacher Act stipulates that every teacher is a member of the Council of Teachers and that their duties are to teach at established school and colleges as well as to submit proposals for formulation of policy for national education in Thailand. The Council supervises the conduct of teachers, maintains discipline, protects their rights, encourages them to safeguard their status, assists teachers and their families to acquire knowledge and maintain harmony among them.

An annual general meeting is held at the Council for members from all over the country to present problems and difficulties they have faced during the academic year. Their problems and reprehensions are addressed by the Council’s president and the executive committee.
The meeting place at first was at Samakkayajariya, Chulalongkorn University’s Meeting Hall. Later, the meetings were held at the meeting hall of the Teachers’ Council, which is on the premises of the Ministry of Education.

During the annual general meeting in 1956, Field Marshal Phibul Songkram the Prime Minister and Honorary Chairman of the Council addressed the teachers who had gathered from all over the country as follows :

What I want to stress here is that teachers serve as beacons of light to all of us. So I think the teachers should have one auspicious day for their students to pay respects to them. Everyone celebrates Thai New Year’s Day and Songkran Day by taking their ancestors’ bones to temples and performing meritorious deeds to express their gratitude. Likewise, students should have the Teachers’ Day on which they can pay respects to their revered teachers.”

The national Teacher’s Day was established to recognise the merits of teachers who have committed themselves to teach the young ones of this nation. In 1956, at the general meeting of the Teachers’ Council (Kuru Sabha), it was concluded that the establishment of the Teachers’ Day was the right move as it provided the opportunity for students to express their gratitude to their teachers both, deceased and alive. Besides, Teachers’ Day is also an occasion to reflect upon the virtues of the teachers and to cultivate friendship and a better understanding between teachers and the people.
On November 21, 1956, the cabinet agreed that January 16th of every year was "National Teachers’ Day”, and the Ministry of Education announced that the Teachers’ Day is a holiday for all teachers and students.

The first National Teachers’ Day was observed on January 16, 1957. In Bangkok, the day was celebrated at the National Stadium.
The National Teachers’ Day is to be celebrated with activities that correspond to the ever changing and developing nature of society. Hence, the main activities have been divided into 3 categories:
1. Religious activities.
 
2. A ceremony to commemorate deceased teachers.
3. Activities to maintain harmony among teachers.

At present, the National Teachers’ Day is celebrated on the same date all over the Kingdom. In Bangkok it is celebrated in the Meeting Hall of the Teachers’ Council, and is presided over by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education. It is jointly organised by the executive committee and by people from different walks of life. In other parts of the country the National Teachers’ Day is celebrated in every province, and is organised by local committees. In some cases, the celebration of the day can also be organised at the sub-district level.

The annual celebration at the Meeting Hall of the Teachers’ Council in Bangkok begins in the morning. The function is presided over by the Minister of Education as chairman of the Teachers’ Council along with executive committee members. The Teachers’ Day Organising committee invite teachers and 1,000 Buddhist monks to receive alms offered by the participants in the programme. Everyone present at the Meeting Hall takes part in the celebration. The Prime Minister, as the guest of honour, enters while music is being played. The Prime Minister lights joss-sticks and candles to pay homage to the Triple Gem, then the chief monk recites the five precepts. The Minister of Education reads a report to the Prime Minister and the ceremony to pay respects to the old teachers. The most senior retired teacher chants prayers in memory of deceased teachers.

The prayer is at first recited in Pali which is "Pajerajariya Honti Gunuttaranusasaka”, and then it is followed in the Thai poetic form of Wasantadilok Chanda which can be translated as follows:
"We join our hands to pay respect to you, our teachers, who have taught us immeasurable virtues of life and we uphold the sublime principles you have implanted in our minds. You have pointed out all the dangers and imparted knowledge to us with love and care and wished us to be eternally prosperous and learned. All these serene qualities you have brought to us with your kind concern and your hope to see us progress well. You were never tired of teaching us with such a great effort to make us wise. Sins, merits and duties have been made clear to all of us, who were your dear students, to achieve our goals of life and with a strong mind to uphold the righteousness and lead a happy life. We all, your students, are highly grateful to your kind sentiments and are gathered here to make your great deeds known. With this realisation may we all be blessed by your kindness and always be successful and happy.”¹

The prayer ends in Pali which is Panyawutthikaretete Tinnowade Namamihang.

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¹ The Thai prayer as mentioned above was composed by Phravoravedyaphisit
(Voravedya Sivasariyanond).

After the most senior teacher has finished the prayer, the Chairman of the Organising Committee asks all the participants to stand in silence for 1 minute in memory of all the deceased teachers. Thereafter the most senior teacher leads all present to swear an oath.

1. We shall be good teachers.

2. We shall teach and train our students to be good citizens of our nation.

3. We shall protect the name and fame of teachers and do our best for the enefit of society.
After declaration of this oath the monks chant an auspicious prayer. The Prime Minister then presents prizes to the outstanding teacher of the year and momentous to the most senior retired teachers and finally makes a speech to the participants.

Traditional Manners and Discipline of Teachers:

1. To have good faith in the democratic form of government with the King as the Head of State.

2. To have a firm faith in the religion one professes and not to insult other religions.

3. To have good intentions to teach students, to carefully fulfil assignments, to devote their time for the benefit of students and not to shun or desertheir duties.

4. To refrain from bad behaviour or any conduct that will dishonour the good reputation of teachers.

5. To follow the rules and regulations and decent norms of the institutes and to follow the superior’s orders as justified by the rules of the institutes.

6. To impart knowledge to students without distortion and concealment and not to allow abuse of research work that will be dangerous to mankind.

7. To honour others’ research works by not exploiting them for personal benefits.

8. To behave well and to carry out their duties in a justified way and not to take advantage of others.
9. To be good examples for their students and to respect the secrets of their students and of the institutes.

10. To maintain unity among colleagues and help each other in their duties.

Recommendations for Organising Activities on Teachers’ Day :

In order to emphasise the importance of roles, duties, responsibilities and the discipline of teachers and the roles and duties of students towards their teachers, the following activities are recommended:
 
1. Conference/Seminar :

- Roles, duties, manners and tradition of teachers.

- Roles and duties of students towards their teachers.

2. Publicity :
 
- Roles, duties manners, discipline and tradition of teachers.
- Roles and duties of students towards their teachers.
3. Exhibition :
- Roles, duties manners, discipline and tradition of teachers.
- Roles and duties of students towards their teachers.
4. Demonstration-Training :
- Roles, duties, manners, discipline and tradition of teachers.
- Roles and duties of students towards their teachers.
5. Performance-Entertainment :
- Roles, duties, manners discipline and tradition of teachers.
- Roles and duties of students towards their teachers.
6. Devotion :
- Arrange activities that students should do for their teachers.
7. Selection/Contest :
- Select outstanding teachers in different fields in the urban and rural areas.
8. Appreciate and honour :
- Outstanding teachers in different fields in the central and rural areas.
9. Other activities :
- Special activities at schools.
- Presentation of gifts to teachers on this significant occasion.
- Participate in merit making by offering alms to Buddhist monks to dedicate the merit-results to
deceased teachers.
- Send greeting cards to teachers who have taught and provided guidance to their students.
- Organise a ceremony to pay homage to old teachers.
- Any other activities that suit the occasion.




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