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Too Short to Become a Teacher: Chinese Woman Disqualified from Getting her Teaching Certificate Because of Her Height

Chauncey Jung

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A remarkable conundrum has got Chinese social media users talking. A woman who studied for four years to become a teacher was denied her certification – she allegedly is 10 centimeters “too short” to become a teacher, according to height requirements established by the Shaanxi Ministry of Education.

News of a Chinese university student being barred from receiving her teaching certificate because of her height has become a topic of discussion on Chinese social media.

A female student named Li was recently disqualified from receiving her teaching certificate after a medical examination measured her height as 140cm (4.6ft), 10cm shorter the height requirement of 150cm (4.9ft), Shaanxi media outlet CNWest (西部网) reports.

The student studies at Shaanxi Normal University. “Not getting a teaching certification would mean the end of my career,” she told local reporters: “It would also go against the free education agreement I received when I entered the university.”

Li is given exemption on her tuition fees under the so-called ‘Future Teacher Scheme’ by the Chinese Ministry of Education – a special programme designed to cover the tuition costs of selected university students who commit to teach at local schools upon graduation.

If Li fails to acquire her teaching certificate, however, it would kill her future job prospects. According to the ‘Future Teacher Scheme’ agreement, students are required to pay back the costs of their university education if they do not become a teacher.

“If there is such a [height] requirement, why would they have accepted me as a student in the first place? My four-year-long efforts now turn into nothing,” Li said.

Since the issue made the news, Shaanxi Normal University responded to the issue, CNWest news reports. In a statement, the university said they were simply enforcing a 2009 provincial policy which stipulates that female applicants need to be taller than 150cm to qualify as a teacher.

The national Chinese laws on teaching, however, do not set any height requirements for teachers.

“This is discrimination. If this happened in the United States, she could get 300 million US Dollars’ worth of compensation,” some commenters responded on Weibo.

 

“If Deng Xiaoping were alive, he would fire the entire Shaanxi Bureau of Education.”

 

Local authorities told CNWest that exceptions on the height requirement policy are occasionally made; in 2012, for example, a student who did not meet the height requirement did obtain the teaching qualification.

Thanks to the heightened media attention on the issue, Shaanxi officials have since decided to make an exception for Li. They reportedly plan to remove the height restriction starting from next year.

The sudden change in policy, however, has not made commenters on social media less annoyed. “If Deng Xiaoping were alive, he would fire the entire Shaanxi Bureau of Education,” one user said. (Former Chinese communist leader Deng Xiaoping’s height is listed as 150cm/4.9ft).

There are many Weibo users who question the relation between a person’s height and their job a teacher: “If she is short, she can wear high heels. Does height really matter to become a teacher?”

It is not the first time that height discrimination in China makes the news. A 2015 Foreign Affairs report suggests that, despite being discriminatory, many employers in China insist on setting height requirements as a condition to employment.

The majority of netizens sympathize with Li: “This is hurtful. It is not easy to be short, why would this society make it more difficult for her?”

Other people wonder why appearances would be more important than one’s psyche: “They never have requirements when it comes to people’s morals and their mental health. It is disgusting to have these requirements for a person’s height.”

By Chauncey Jung

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Chauncey Jung is a China internet specialist who who previously worked for various Chinese internet companies in Beijing. Jung completed his BA and MA education in Canada (Univ. of Toronto & Queen's), and has a strong interest in Chinese trends, technology, economic developments and social issues.

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China Local News

Sudden Ground Collapse at Metro Station in Xiamen

A sudden collapse occurred near Xiamen’s Lucuo station, just two weeks after a similar incident took place in Guangzhou.

Manya Koetse

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In the evening of December 12, Xiamen’s Lvcuo (Lǚcuò 吕厝) metro station became a breaking news topic in Chinese media after a ground collapse incident occurred at a nearby intersection, followed by a major flood in the Xiamen subway.

Xiamen, Fujian Province, is one of China’s major coastal cities. According to Xiamen Metro News, the collapse happened at 21:52 local time.

At time of writing, rescue teams are still investigating the scene. It is unclear if people have been trapped or injured due to the collapse.

An apparent dashcam video shared by Sina News and People’s Daily on Weibo shows the moment right before the sudden collapse.

The video captures how the road is relatively busy at the time of collapsing, and at least one car can be seen crashing into the sinkhole.

Other footage shows that the Xiamen metro line is currently flooded (also see video in this tweet).

The scene of the collapse at 0:10 local time.

The metro station where this incident occurred is relatively new. Xiamen’s metro line was first opened in late December 2017.

Just two weeks ago, another major ground collapse accident occurred at the construction site of a metro line in Guangzhou. Three people remain missing after the incident.

On Thursday night local time, the Xiamen metro collapse was the number one trending topic on social media platform Weibo. Many netizens commenting on the incident express worries about the safety of roads and construction sites in China.

Update (Dec 13): According to the latest Chinese media reports, the drivers of two cars who were at the scene at the moment of the ground collapse have both been recused. One female pedestrian who also fell into the sinkhole is receiving medical treatment..

By Manya Koetse
Follow @whatsonweibo

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China Health & Science

No Need for Plague Panic? China’s Trending Plague Outbreak

After the Year of the Pig brought swine flue, some fear the Year of the Rat will bring the ‘rat plague.’

Manya Koetse

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For the past nine days, during which three cases of the plague have been reported in China, the deadly bubonic plague has become a hot topic on Chinese social media.

The topic first made headlines on November 12, when Chinese state media announced that two people, a husband and wife from Inner Mongolia, were transported to Beijing’s Chaoyang Hospital for treatment after being diagnosed with the pneumonic plague.

The couple reportedly got sick after eating raw marmot kidney.

A 55-year old hunter from the same region, the Inner Mongolian Xilingol League, was later also diagnosed with bubonic plague after eating wild rabbit meat.

The bubonic plague, also called the ‘Black Death,’ is an infectious disease that is known to have caused one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, killing millions of people in 14th century Europe.

News of the three cases of bubonic plague reminded many of the 2003 SARS panic; an outbreak of SARS in southern China caused over 8000 cases that year.

The World Health Organisation criticized China at the time for covering up the scale of the problem, with officials conceding in the Spring of 2003 that China’s SARs problem was “nearly 10 times worse than had been admitted.”

Current online reports on the bubonic plague in China stress that there is no reason for panic, with a hospital spokesperson confirming that the situation is “under control.”

42 people who are known to have come into contact with the Chinese patients have all been quarantined and were not found to have any symptoms of catching the disease.

Chinese (state) media channels are spreading social media posts this week that mainly emphasize that the plague “can be prevented, controlled, and managed,” and that it can be effectively treated.

“Don’t panic over plague outbreak,” Sina News headlines, with People’s Daily posting on Weibo that, according to the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “there is no need to worry.”

The bubonic plague primarily affects rodents and other animals, with animals – and incidentally humans – usually contracting the infection through insects such as (rat) fleas. This form of plague is highly contagious – can spread through coughing – and could be fatal within days if left untreated (Benedict 1996, 4).

Mammals such as rabbits or marmots, as eaten by the recent Chinese patients, but also rats, squirrels, gerbils, mice, etc., can all harbor the disease.

Although the disease is increasingly rare, and for many is something from the history books, there were still 3248 cases worldwide between 2010 and 2015, leading to 584 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

Although Chinese media stress that there is no need to panic over the recent outbreak of the bubonic plague, many netizens still fear an epidemic, making comments such as: “The Year of the Pig brought the [African] swine fever, now the plague is starting just before the Year of the Rat!” (The word for ‘plague’ in Chinese is 鼠疫 shǔyì, literally meaning ‘rat plague’ or ‘mouse plague’).

Others are asking questions such as: “Do we risk the plague more if we have mice in the house?” and “How can we prevent getting it?”

Meanwhile, according to Jiemian News reports, the area in Inner Mongolia where the patients originally contracted the illness is currently under strict control by the Ministries of Health and Agriculture; some roads are closed off, and there’s temperature screening for those taking public transport.

The area has seen four cases of plague over the past decades, the most recent one before this month being in 2004.

Last news on the current three patients was from last Saturday, when it was reported that at least one of the patients is now in stable condition.

By Manya Koetse
Follow @whatsonweibo

References

Benedict, Carol Ann. 1996. Bubonic Plague in Nineteenth Plague in Nineteenth Century China. Stanford University Press.

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©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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