Unfortunately, I didn’t have much of a philatelic week last week as most of my time was spent working on school-related tasks. The end of the long school year is upon us and next week is comprised solely of final exams — tests in English and Chinese subjects Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with the Thai language exams occurring on Thursday and Friday. My M3-level students (roughly equivalent to the Sophomore level of high school in the United States) will take entrance exams for different schools on Monday before starting their holidays next Tuesday). The 2019-2020 school year will begin in early May, probably the Tuesday following the Royal Coronation of HM King Maha Vajiralongkhorn (Rama X). There should be plenty of Thailand Post philatelic items surrounding that long-awaited event.
As a teacher of English As A Foreign Language (EFL), I would like to start collecting stamps and postmarks portraying different aspects of education be they schools, students, classroom elements, or the teachers themselves. Thus, I’m thrilled by the recent stamps issued by the tiny nation of San Marino. Perhaps they will be the first I will add to an education-themed topical collection (I have yet to find them listed on eBay).
The pair of stamps released on 16 June honor World Teachers’ Day, held annually every 5 October since 1994 in order to mobilize support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers. According to UNESCO, World Teachers’ Day represents “a significant token of the awareness, understanding and appreciation displayed for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development.” Over one hundred countries currently observe this special day.
The 2015 San Marino set of stamps were designed by graphic artist Guido Scarabottolo. The 80 euro value features stylized students listening to a teacher holding a book in his hand while they are standing on piles of books, meaning that the roots of knowledge come from the same fertile soil. The 95 euro stamp portrays a teacher showing the light of knowledge to her students. This same image appears on the issue’s first day of issue cancellation.
There have been many stamps issued since the late 1950’s honoring education in all of its forms. I’ve identified a few on eBay that I’d like to purchase in the near future. This pair below was issued in 1997 for Thailand’s Children’s Day, held annually on the first Saturday of January. The stamp on the left illustrates a typical schoolyard scene with the students in the ubiquitous uniform of Thai government-run school – white tops with brown shorts for boys and blue skirts for the girls.
Teachers are generally greatly revered in Thailand and there are two days designated in the schools here in which to honor them. Wai Kru Day is on a Thursday in mid- to late June on which is held a ceremony where all of the students of the school will bow to the point that their knees and head are on the floor before presenting an elaborate flower arrangement to the teacher who happens to be sitting across from them. If it is a large school (as most here tend to be), the teacher may end up with fifty or more flower arrangements each which often end up in a large trash bin.
In January (the week following Children’s Day, on a Thursday once again), is Wan Kru which translates as “Teachers’ Day” and is simply an extra day off. The students seem to enjoy this more than the teachers do as it falls right at mid-terms and there are already way too many government, Buddhist and other holidays (days off without pay) during the November to February stretch. At any rate, I have yet to come across any stamps honoring these two special days for teachers. However, the stamp below was issued in mid-June 1998 honoring education in general so it may have been intended to mark Wai Kru as well.
My birth-country of the United States has issued numerous stamps on an education theme since the 1950s. A selection appears below:
As has the United Nations:
I quite like these from Vietnam, Mongolia, China, and Israel:
Beautiful maximum card from Greece:
I’m not usually a big fan of Disney stamps, but perhaps I’ll make an exception for this mini-sheet from St. Vincent and the Grenadines:
And, finally, here are two more marking various World Teachers’ Days – from The Philippines and Algeria:
What other education-related stamps do you recommend? Please leave images in the Comments…