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Is Teachers' Day necessary?

18 0 34
By Park Moo-jong

Three days ago, the country marked its 65th Teachers' Day in a rather odd atmosphere amid a heated debate over whether the special day to honor these people should exist.

The debate started last year with the enforcement of the Law on the Prohibition of Improper Solicitation and Bribery, dubbed the "Kim Young-ran Act," affecting civil servants, teachers and journalists.

Teachers' Day was designated to encourage teachers' morale and improve their social status by creating a social climate to respect and honor them and their teaching authority and rights.

Teachers' Day is called in Korean "Seuseung ui Nal." "Seuseung" is an honorific for "seonsaengnim" or teacher, showing the sense of respect for teachers. Since long ago, we Koreans have known how to express our unlimited respect for "seuseung," by saying, "We don't set foot even on the shadow of our teachers."

In Korea, Red Cross youth group members initiated the day by visiting their sick retired teachers at hospitals in 1958 on the occasion of the World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day on May 8. But since 1965, the date has been May 15, the birthday of Sejong the Great (1397-1450), the fourth king of the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910), who devised the Korean alphabet, Hangeul, in cooperation with young scholars.

The celebrated day was removed in 1973 in the then government's social........

© The Korea Times