Teacher's Day switch stirs debate

Updated: 2013-09-09 10:53


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Debates have sprung up across China over plans to move Teachers' Day, which currently falls on Sept 10, to Sept 28, believed to be the birthday of Confucius.

The idea was made public Thursday when the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council, China's Cabinet, released a draft amendment on a package of education laws in order to canvass public opinion.

Confucius, whose philosophy emphasizes personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity, has been a philosophical and ideological icon throughout Chinese history, but his role was played down during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

The Teachers' Day change is considered a landmark of Confucianism's revival.

In Qufu City in east China's Shandong Province, where Confucius was born 2,564 years ago, hundreds of thousands of the philosopher's descendants are excited by the news.

"It is an acknowledgement of Confucius's status as China's earliest educationist," said Kong Lingshao, a 76th generation grandson of Confucius.

"Choosing Confucius's birthday as Teachers' Day reflects the return of Chinese traditional culture," said Kong, a civil servant who has been a Chinese language teacher for seven years.

Confucius was criticized during a certain period of time, but our country has rationally realized his value to the Chinese nation, he said.

Confucius, who started China's private education system, has been regarded by Chinese for millennia as "best teacher in ancient time" and "model teacher for generations".

Yang Mingchao, head of the China Confucius Research Institute, proposed setting up a "Teachers' Respect Day" along with three other Confucianism experts in 2010 at the Third Confucius World Congress.

"It has been a universal agreement among Confucianism experts around the world to set up a teachers' respect day," said Yang.

Confucius's principles have a basis in common Chinese tradition and belief. He championed strong family loyalty, ancestor worship and respect for the elderly by children. Confucius espoused the well-known principle, "Do not do to others what you would not want done to yourself."

Teacher's Day switch stirs debate

Teacher's Day switch stirs debate

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