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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.

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Chauncey Jung is a China internet specialist who currently works for an Internet company based out of 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

Photo of Grey-Haired Post-80s Party Official Goes Viral on Weibo

It started as a joke, now the man is praised for his hard work.

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A Party official from Chuxiong country, Yunnan, has become the talk of the day on Chinese social media, after his photo was posted online by the local organizational department on November 15. His photo and short biography were posted as part of an introduction of local officials and their responsibilities.

The photo of the man, a local Party committee secretary named Li Zhongkai (李忠凯), would normally have never been noteworthy. The fact that the information with it said that Li was born in August of 1980 is what caught the attention of netizens, with many people thinking the grey-haired man looks much older than 38, and some even doubting his age.

According to his bio description, Li is a Chinese Communist Party member who started working at the end of 1999. He is now a Party secretary in Chuxiong’s Wanbi town, various Chinese media sources write, responsible for poverty alleviation, relocation of households, and fulfilling an important role at the time of the landslides in Yunnan. In 2018, he was praised for his service excellence by the local county.

Chinese media outlet The Paper writes that it has been verified that the photo is indeed the 38-year-old Li, and that a co-worker told media that Li’s workload is heavy.

A WeChat video in which Li was interviewed earlier this year, in September, shows the man still had black hair at the time.

Although many joked about the man, there are now also more serious comments. “Working at the grassroots level is really tough,” many commenters write. “If you’d tell me he was 60, I’d believe it.”

There are also those giving the man some advice on his appearance: “Just lose some weight and exercise, that will make you look younger.”

Li spoke to reporters, saying he was “surprised” about his photo going viral, and also explaining that his work was not easy, as many places in the county are remote and require him to travel long hours.

The Party official has now become popular on Weibo, where some encourage him to open a Weibo account to share more about the work he does in the county.

“Brother, please take care of yourself,” some commenters say: “You look like you’re over 50.”

By Manya Koetse, with contributions from Miranda Barnes

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

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China Health & Environment

Chengdu Bans 22 Dog Breeds – Owners Need to Find a “New Home” for Their Pet

What breed is that doggy in the window? Chengdu bans 22 breeds in the city’s big districts.

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The ban on 22 dog breeds in the city of Chengdu, including the common Chinese rural dog, has sparked anger among many Chinese netizens on social media.

Starting from November 16, the city of Chengdu will ban a total of 22 dog breeds in several restricted areas in the city, which includes major Chengdu districts such as Wuhou, Chenghua, Jinniu, and Jinjiang.

The banned breeds are mostly larger dogs, or those known for their sometimes aggressive nature. The banned dogs breeds include the German Shepherd, Staffordshite Terrier, Mastiff, Bull Terrier and Pitbull Terrier, Akita, Newfoundland, Great Dance, and others (see full list here). The list also includes the common Chinese rural dog.

The hashtag “Chengdu Cleans Up Dogs” (#成都清理禁养犬#) had over 330 million views on Weibo at time of writing, making it the top trending topic of the day.

Pet owners are devastated about the ban on 22 dog breeds in Chengdu.

Earlier this week, Chengdu Expat already wrote about the new measures, which reportedly are implemented to “create a civilized and hygienic environment,” and to push pet owners to register their dogs.

GoChengdu also warned pet owners that if they live in a restricted area and their dog belongs to the banned breeds, they need to find a new home for it (in an unrestricted area) before November 16.

Chengdu Expat also recommends pet owners to make sure their dogs have the right vaccinations, and to keep their pet passports with them at all times.

On Weibo, many netizens are dismayed with the recent measures. “They shouldn’t ban the dogs, they should educate pet owners,” many commenters say.

There are also commenters, however, who say they support the new crackdown on bigger dog breeds, saying it protects people and makes the city a safer place.

The past year has seen many incidents with dogs making headlines in China. In late October, two incident of (unleashed) dogs attacking people in the streets, leading to serious injuries, went viral on Chinese social media – also leading to more people calling for better dog regulations in China.

In the city of Wenshan, dog owners were recently banned from walking their dogs on the street between 7am and 10pm each day, and Hangzhou has also implemented new measures to “clean up uncivilised dog-keeping behaviour”

One of the most discussed things within this topic is the Chengdu ban on the Chinese common dog, that is listed with the other 21 banned breeds. “We’re not even allowed to raise our own Chinese dogs!”, many say: “What did the common Chinese dog ever do wrong?”

“Today is a sad day,” one Weibo user wrote: “Reading about the Chinese rural dog becoming a banned dog makes me cry.”

Other netizens are also emotional about the new measures, writing: “They are basically asking us to ‘dispose of’ our own family members.”

By Manya Koetse

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

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What’s on Weibo provides social, cultural & historical insights into an ever-changing China. What’s on Weibo sheds light on China’s digital media landscape and brings the story behind the hashtag. This independent news site is managed by sinologist Manya Koetse. Contact info@whatsonweibo.com. ©2014-2018

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