Visually impaired kindergarten teacher wins discrimination lawsuit

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A kindergarten teacher with eight years of educational experience, who was denied teaching qualifications after a physical exam revealed that she was blind in her right eye, has won a lawsuit against her former employer. The teacher, who wishes to be identified as Wang Li in order to protect her identity, had spent years working to obtain her teaching credentials. She brought charges against the Wuyi Bureau of Education on the grounds that she was unfairly denied her teaching qualifications. On March 28, the Jinhua Municipal Court ruled that this was unlawful and that the Bureau of Education was required to revisit her credentials application within 15 business days.

When Wang became a kindergarten teacher in 2008, there still were no strict requirements on teacher qualifications. In 2012 however, she took a kindergarten teacher qualification test and passed. Then in 2015, she had a physical examination at a hospital in Wuyi, the final step in the process to receive her formal credentials. Wang knew she was blind in one eye, but because of her years of experience in the field, she was not worried about the examination. Three days later however, the Wuyi Bureau of Education called her to tell her that she did not pass the physical exam.

Afterwards, Wang decided to take the matter to a municipal court in Wuyi, where her lawyer was able to help her with the legal proceedings. In November 2016 a civil court in Wuyi began official hearings for the case, during which the Wuyi Bureau of Education stated that they had acted according to the law.

On the morning of March 28th, Wang’s lawyer contacted her to tell her the good news that the court had ruled in her favour. In an interview with the Beijing Youth Daily, Wang Li told reporters that while she waited for the court’s ruling, she stayed at home making handcrafts to earn money. In addition, she used the time to study material related to kindergarten education.

When asked about her future, Wang told reporters that she if is able to obtain her credentials, she will certainly continue to pursue a career as a kindergarten teacher, otherwise this whole process will have been in vain. Wang said she would like to return to the kindergarten where she worked back in 2008, because she really enjoyed working there. When asked what she would do if she was still unable to receive her credentials, she said she would only have one option, which is to continue raising lawsuits against the Bureau of Education.