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Redditors ask if Mdm Halimah wears hijab to work, why should MapleBear applicant be asked if she’s OK with removing it to teach preschool?

Police investigating incident, MapleBear says teachers and other staff wear hijabs to work

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Singapore—A woman posted on Reddit on Friday (June 11) that in a job interview for a teaching position at a preschool, she was asked if she would okay with removing her hijab “for work”.

The Redditor, u/listentotheinternet, asked the interviewer why this would be necessary.

She was given the answer that it’s because the , part of the Canadian preschool chain MapleBear, “has a code to follow”.

“Hijab has been an issue in Singapore for a long time, and normally associated with nurses and uniform groups. But preschool teacher? 

“I have never known for it to be an issue in this industry. Most preschools (I honestly thought all) allow teachers to wear their hijabs with their uniforms,” she wrote.

She then added that her hijab had “never been” in her “way to educate the young ones” and was certain that “it is the same for any other hijabi teacher.”

“I am angry that an organisation that has so much to do with childrens’ outlook of life themselves hold such backward policies,” the teacher wrote.

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Several commenters weighed in on the matter, saying that they had seen MapleBear teachers wearing hijabs, and that they knew of other MapleBear centres that do not have this in their dress code.

One netizen suggested that she report the branch where she had applied, which is allegedly in Sengkang, “to the Tripartite Alliance for discrimination”.

Another pointed out that the President, Madam Halimah Yacob, herself wears a hijab to work.

Yet another commenter asked, “So they want the children to grow up without any exposure to other cultures practices?”

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MapleBear responded on the same day on its Facebook page with a message from MapleBear Singapore chief executive Patricia Koh.

FB screengrab: Maple Bear Singapore

Ms Koh wrote that the school “welcomes teachers of all races and religions” and that its uniform code “does not restrict the donning of the hijab/tudung”.

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She added that the preschools have “quite a number” of Muslim teachers and staff who wear their hijabs to work.

She wrote that they “were sorry to hear” of the applicant’s experience and would look into the matter.

MapleBear posted an update the next day, on June 12, to say that the incident is under police investigation and that it is “unable to comment further at this point.”

“We would like to reiterate that MapleBear HR practices are fair and inclusive and our Muslim teachers and support staff do wear their hijabs to work,” the preschool said in its update. 

u/listentotheinternet has also since updated her post to say that the centre director reached out to her.

When she asked why the hijab was even brought up, the director replied that “oh she was just asking, she wants to know what the applicant would come to work wearing”,

But the director asked if the teacher felt she was being rejected because of the hijab.

“And I said yup sure felt that way. 

“So she said oh no I have malay friends and colleagues… So yes here’s an update not sure if it was really a misunderstanding on my part or there are reasons she suddenly changed her tone.

“In any case, how else should a hijabi feel when her interviewer ask if she’s OK to remove her hijab for work?”

/TISG

Read also: President Halimah: Discrimination has no place in society, Tangs to allow employees to wear hijab

President Halimah: Discrimination has no place in society, Tangs to allow employees to wear hijab

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