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Teacher's maternity leave leads to outrage

By Shi Baoyin in Zhengzhou and Zhao Xinying in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-09 07:43

A pregnant teacher in Henan province reportedly asked her students' parents to fill in for her while she was away on maternity leave, sparking outrage.

Wang Baolan, a female teacher at No 2 High School in Zhumadian, was accused by some parents of shirking her responsibility of watching over students doing homework during their daily after-school class.

According to some parents, they were asked to take turns to cover for Wang after the Spring Festival holiday, with parents unable to do so having to pay 300 to 600 yuan ($45-$90) to those who did.

Parents who opposed the arrangement exposed the incident to media, with one saying it is unfair for parents to be expected to do the teacher's job and even pay for her absence.

Another parent, who declined to give his name, said: "Many parents were opposed to the arrangement, but didn't know what to do. Some had to leave after the Spring Festival holiday as they work in other cities, and it's impossible for them to show up at their children's after-school class."

However, the school said that the decision was made by the school's parents' committee and that the teacher didn't know about it.

"Our school had arranged for a substitute to stand in for Wang Baolan," said Wang Wei, director of the school's administrative office.

"But some parents were worried that their children's learning would be affected as the new teacher wouldn't know the students, so they came up with the idea of taking turns to attend the after-school class, with those who could not make it paying some money as compensation," he said.

Wang Wei added that the school and Wang Baolan had asked the parents' committee to refund the 7,000 yuan collected.

"We strongly oppose the parents' committee's actions," Wang Wei said, adding that the school will strictly follow the national rules to avoid any arbitrary charges.

Zhu Shuyuan, a resident of Zhumadian whose child is a junior middle school student, said that because most teachers at primary and middle schools are female, a shortage of teachers is common, particularly after a number of female teachers have become pregnant following the second-child policy.

"Female teachers have the right to take maternity leave, but schools should make arrangements so that students are not affected," Zhu said.

Qi Xin in Zhengzhou contributed to this story.

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