China’s Teachers’ Day

China’s appreciation of teachers and professors is a relatively new phenomenon with the advent of Teacher’s Day in 1985. While it is admitted that teachers and professors have had an esteemed position in Chinese culture, it was quite different from what it is today. The admiration that the Chinese community has towards its teachers has greatly evolved with the development of formal education for teachers.[1]

Previously, teaching in China was perceived to be a mere transferring of knowledge. However, with the creation of the Teacher’s Education Foundation in 1949, a positive change came about in teacher education.[2] Let’s take a brief look at the historical development of teacher education in the Chinese culture.

After the advent of the Teacher’s Education Foundation, great reform took place in the education of teachers and achieving intellectual potential in China from 1949 to 1965. Unfortunately, this intellectual progress faced a drastic collapse from 1966-1976 – the time of the Cultural Revolution in China. Many teachers were sent to the countryside, and thus they were unable to fulfil their roles as educators in the country.

The end of the Cultural Revolution saw a period of social and educational recovery in 1978, initiated by Deng Xiaoping, the paramount leader in China. He introduced the open-door policy under which educational institutions were urged to “produce an adequate workforce to support the country’s economic development”.[3] In this era, teacher education became a national priority.

From here onwards many important steps were taken by the administration towards improving the educational setup of China. September 10th was declared Teacher’s Day to honour the teachers of China. Moreover, a law was passed in the country to protect the legal rights of teachers.[4] Finally, a national system was set up in 2001 to certify qualified teachers, curbing the problem of incompetent teachers in educational institutes. This was a milestone in China’s history of teacher education.[5] In current times, students, teachers, and educational institutions all over China celebrate Teacher’s Day, annually. While it is a working day, students send gifts and flowers to their teachers, professors, and mentors to express gratitude over their valuable services in the field of education. Universities and other educational institutions also organize celebratory events and honour their best educators with awards on this special day.

If you wish to witness the celebrations of Teacher’s Day in China, you can book a China business study tour in September.  Visit us for more information on our immersive business study tours for executives and Executive MBA programs


Guo S, ‘Exploring Current Issues in Teacher Education in China’ (2005) 51 Alberta Journal of Educational Research

H.J. W, ‘Brief Introduction to Teacher Training’ [1989] Beijing Teacher’s University Press. Cited in Guo (2005) p. 69


[1] Shibao Guo, ‘Exploring Current Issues in Teacher Education in China’ (2005) 51 Alberta Journal of Educational Research.

[2] Wen H.J., ‘Brief Introduction to Teacher Training’ [1989] Beijing Teacher’s University Press.

[3] Guo (n 1) 70.

[4] Ibid 70.

[5] Ibid 71.

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