Iran’s ‘ugly teacher’ guidelines ban applicants with acne, moles or bad teeth

Aug 26, 2017
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Saturday, 25 August 2017

Iran’s education department sparked outrage online after it publishing a lengthy list of requirements for incoming teachers, apparently banning ‘ugly’ people from entering the profession.

The list published by the FARS news agency excludes individuals with a wide range of illnesses but also prohibits people from teaching based on their physical appearance.

Individuals with severe acne, burn marks, unsightly moles and those with fewer than 20 teeth are prohibited by the Ministry of Education. Cross-eyed people and women with facial hair also fail to qualify.

A whole section of the document is dedicated to ‘women’s diseases’ and specifies infertility and early or late puberty among the problematic issues for aspiring teachers.

FARS noted that the restrictions mean prospective applicants have to spend many months taking medical tests. It added that kidney or bladder surgery, for example, does not affect someone’s ability to teach.

After some backlash on social media, a special assistant to President Hassan Rouhani said the matter would be investigated.


A spokesman for the education department later told Tehran-based Etemad that measures specifically targeting women would be removed and the rest of the list reviewed.

It noted that these restrictions, in particular, had been widely criticized and it was clear now they provided an unnecessary barrier to the recruitment of female teachers.


Esfandiar Chabband, head of the Center for Human Resources and Information Technology Planning and Information Technology (MoH), said the style sheet had been implemented in previous years as a hiring barrier.

“They have told me that no-one has ever been banned from work on this basis,” he said.

Iranian journalist Omid Memarian pointed out that renowned physicist Stephen Hawking would have been unsuccessful in an gaining a teaching job in Iran under the restrictions.

Meanwhile journalist Sara Omatali called the measures a “definitive violation of basic human rights.”

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