Teachers’ Day is a special day for the appreciation of teachers, and may include celebrations to honor them for their special contributions in a particular field area, or the community in general.
The idea of celebrating Teachers’ Day took root in many countries during the 19th century; in most cases, they celebrate a local educator or an important milestone in education. This is the primary reason why countries celebrate this day on different dates, unlike many other International Days. For example, Argentina has commemorated Domingo Faustino Sarmiento’s death on 11 September since 1915; while in India Guru Purnima is traditionally observed as a day to venerate teachers, the birthday of the second president Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (5 September) is also celebrated as Teacher’s Day since 1962.
Many countries celebrate World Teachers’ Day, established by UNESCO in 1994, on 5 October as their Teachers’ Day.
16 May was chosen in Malaysia because on the same day in 1956, the Federal Legislative Council of the Federation of Malaya endorsed the Razak Report, one of four reports of the Education Committee regarding education in Malaysia. The document, known as the Razak Report after Tun Abdul Razak who was Education Minister at the time, has been the basis of education in Malaysia ever since. Although it is not an official school holiday, celebrations are usually held on 16 May, or earlier if it falls on a Saturday or Sunday.