Teachers sacked or forced to retire because of criminal convictions or ethical breaches could appeal to recover their provident funds in future, according to Director of Education Helen Yu Lai Ching-ping. She also promised at yesterday's Legco education panel meeting to consider a new scheme of penalties which varies according to the seriousness of the offence under the Grant Schools and Subsidised Schools Provident Fund (Amendment) Rules 1997. 'I am happy to add in an appeal system so that if a teacher thinks he or she has received unfair treatment after the Director of Education has exercised his or her discretionary powers, there is a third party to judge,' she said. The remarks were made as legislators criticised the present arrangement of imposing double penalties. A person faces being fired and losing the Government's provident fund if convicted now, depending on the Director of Education's discretionary powers. But Democrat Cheung Man-kwong said if discretionary powers were exercised varyingly, unfairness would result. The Education Department disclosed that in the past 10 years there were 21 cases in which a provident fund was affected due to a criminal conviction or breach of ethics. Legislators also voiced concern over proposed legislation on non-local higher and professional education. Mr Cheung doubted if a ban on false advertisements was feasible. 'The agent who helps put out the advertisements may not be able to afford any compensation, and you can't prosecute the foreign institute because it is not in Hong Kong. 'How can you check whether a distance learning course is up to the standard?'