Teachers' Day

Next Thursday, 5 September 2024

Every year, India celebrates Teachers' Day on the 5th of September to honor our teachers and commemorate the birth anniversary of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. 

Teachers' Day is not a public holiday in the country and students and teachers report to school as per their normal schedule. However, regular school activities are replaced with celebrations filled with fun events and commemoration of the teachers. 

The roles are reversed on this day as students are in charge of arranging the celebration and making it special for their teachers. 

grayscale photography of teacher standing near chalkboard and children sitting on chairs

Background of Teachers' Day 

The history of Teachers' Day in India goes back to the legendary figure of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. He was born on September 5th, 1888 and his birthday played a significant role in establishing Teachers' Day in India. 

Who Was Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was the first vice president and the second President of India. He was also a renowned philosopher, scholar, and political leader. 

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan held several important positions in the field of education. He served as a professor of philosophy at Mysore and Calcutta universities and also as a vice chancellor at Andhra University.

A potrait of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Additionally, he taught Eastern religions and ethics at the University of Oxford in England and served as the vice chancellor of Benares Hindu University. Later on, from 1953 to 1962, he served as the chancellor of the University of Delhi.

Dr. Radhakrishnan had an influential role in international affairs as well. He led the Indian delegation to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) from 1946 to 1952 and served as the chairman of UNESCO's executive board from 1948 to 1949. Later, he became the Indian ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1949 to 1952.

After his diplomatic service, Radhakrishnan returned to India and embarked on a political career.

He was elected as the Vice President of India in 1952. Then, on May 11, 1962, he became the President of India, succeeding Rajendra Prasad, who was the country's first president after independence.

Radhakrishnan held the presidential position for five years before retiring from politics.

When Dr. Radhakrishnan was serving as the President of India in 1962, a few of his students and other people went to visit him and requested him to celebrate his birthday. 

Instead of celebrating his birthday in the traditional way, Dr. Radhakrishnan suggested using the day to honor and appreciate teachers across the nation. He believed that it was important to recognize the valuable contributions teachers make to society.

Radhakrishnan's idea was well-received, and as a result, September 5th is now celebrated as Teachers' Day in India. This day serves as a reminder of how teachers profoundly impact the lives of students and the future of the nation.

It is a special time for students to show appreciation, respect, and admiration for their teachers, acknowledging their selfless dedication and hard work.

Teachers Day Celebrations

India celebrates Teachers' Day in several ways with different activities and events held in respective institutions. Students take the responsibility of organizing cultural programs, speeches, and performances to entertain and appreciate their teachers and faculty members. 

Another common part of the celebrations is felicitating teachers and acknowledging their contributions to the field of education as well as raising the country's future. 

The celebration of Teachers' Day raises awareness about the importance of education and the need to empower and support teachers in their mission to provide quality education to students throughout the country.

Interesting Tidbits

  • Teachers' Day is celebrated all over the world but on different dates based on various things.
  • Dr. Radhakrishnan received several prestigious awards in his lifetime including a knighthood in 1931 and the Bharat Ratna in 1954 which is the highest civilian honor in India. He was also granted honorary membership in the British Royal Order of Merit in 1963.
  • St. George's Anglo-Indian Higher Secondary School, founded in 1715, is one of the oldest schools in the world and the oldest in India. It is affiliated with the Anglo-Indian Board of Education.
  • Savitribai Phule, a pioneering figure in India, established the first school for girls in the country. She was the first female teacher in India (1848) and together with her husband, Jyotirao Phule, opened a school for girls. 
  • Thomas Babington Macaulay, known as the father of English education in India, was a prominent figure responsible for shaping the educational system during British rule. He was a renowned essayist, historian, linguist, politician, and thinker.

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