Survey on 'too fat to teach' cases
Sun, Nov 08, 2009
New Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) will look into complaints from teachers who said they were turned down for jobs or courses because they were overweight.

NUTP secretary-general Lok Yim Pheng said the union would conduct a survey first to find out if there were many of such cases.

"We have to find out if there are such cases of discrimination and if there are, action should be taken," she said after attending a special Cuepacs meeting here yesterday.

Lok said Malaysia could be losing teachers because of the discriminatory methods practised by some interviewers who set their own guidelines.

She was responding to a mother's claim that her daughter had suffered the same fate as Joanna Gilbert Asson, who was told that "she was too fat to be a teacher".

The irate mother, Hamidah Noordin, told the New Straits Times on Oct 25 that her daughter was asked whether she knew she was obese during an interview for a teacher training course.

The incident had left the 19-year-old devastated and humiliated.

She said Joanna's withdrawal of her application to the teachers' training college was more likely caused by humiliation instead of lack of interest as was officially cited.

Two weeks ago, Lok called on the Education Ministry to review the code of ethics for those conducting interviews for prospective teachers.

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