Teachers Day Celebrations in Turkey, 24 November 2011

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The Head Teacher ATATURK
The Head Teacher ATATURK

Atatürk was given the title of ‘’Millet Mektepleri Başöğretmenliği – The Head Teacher’’, on 24 November following the acceptance of the new alphabet on 1 November 1928. Ataturk’s photograph in front of the blackboard introducing the new alphabet adorns the wall at the entrance of Yunus Emre Foundation in Ankara as well as many other places and books (Attachment 1.) That is why 24 November is celebrated as ‘’Teachers Day’’ in Turkey, although this year, the death of 76 teachers during the Van/Erçiş Earthquake, 24 November will be a day of remembrance with forgiveness on behalf of those who were responsible for the fallen buildings that killed teachers who came to Van from all over Turkey, shown in HaberTurk newspaper recently..

Among the many sayings of Atatürk, several refer to the teachers: ‘’Those who save the nations are only the teachers’’, ‘’Teachers, the new generations will be your opus.’’ During the early years of the Turkish War of Independence, the first convention that Mustafa Kemal Pas held was the Teachers Convention in Ankara. For Atatürk, the teachers were the most important professionals followed by the farmers who are the true producers.

The respect for teachers in India, who celebrate ‘’Teachers Day’’ on September 5, comes second after families, gods even further down the list. We all know the importance of teachers in China which goes back to the times of Confucius. No wonder the Indians and the Chinese are among the most successful entrepreneurs in the world, like Mr. Paddy Padmanathan, the CEO of the Saudı Arabian energy company ACWA which is building a power plant in Turkey with his Turkish joint venture partner and told his story during the 10th anniversary of EMRA. conference in Ankara on Tuesday.

Congratulations and our appreciations to all the teachers in our lives, going back to our elementary and high school days and to teachers everywhere, including the Turkish-American teacher Yonca who is now in Lisbon, Portugal, working on the accreditation of an international high school there.

Yüksel Oktay
İstanbul
24 November 2011

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