China should scrap all height requirements for teachers in order to end discrimination and promote fairness in employment, experts said, after a woman in Northwest China was denied her teaching credentials because she was too short.
Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute in Beijing, said the country should have unified standards and stop allowing provinces to make their own rules.
There is no reason that some provinces should have height requirements while others don't, and the practice might lead to abuses such as bribery, he said.
Cnwest.com reported on Wednesday that the teacher candidate, a recent graduate who is 1.4 meters tall and identified only by her surname Li, was told she had failed the accrediting test after a medical examination in June.
Female applicants should be at least 1.5 meters tall, and males 1.55 meters to qualify as teachers in Shaanxi, according to the local education department.
Huang Huairong, an education professor at Beijing Normal University, said there is no requirement in the Teacher's Law preventing short people from becoming teachers, and height has nothing to do with whether someone is qualified.
"My four years of college will be for nothing and I may even breach the agreement with the school if I cannot get the teaching credentials," Li was quoted as saying.
She was admitted as an English major at Shaanxi Normal University in 2014. As a government-funded student, Li paid no tuition, but is required to teach at local schools after graduation.
"The university should have informed me four years ago when I was admitted," Li was quoted as saying.
"The university is just doing what it has been told to do," a spokesperson for Shaanxi Normal University told the website. "We don't make the rules. We follow the instructions of the Shaanxi Education Department."
An official surnamed Yang from the education department told the website it will deal with the case appropriately, and it plans to drop the requirement next year.
Shaanxi would be the latest province to remove the height requirement for teachers, following others such as Sichuan and Jiangxi. The Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region also eliminated the rule.