Teacher conduct council fights back after Law's criticism Pushing for a ruling professional body for teachers is to be the main goal of the non-statutory council tasked with maintaining professional standards in education, its outgoing chairman has vowed. 'This is our top priority for the next two years,' said Pun Tin-chi, of the Council for Professional Conduct in Education. 'But it needs government support. It would have to be passed by the Legislative Council.' The advisory body to establish benchmarks of professional behaviour for teachers was set up in 1994 but lacks legal power to sanction teachers who breach its guidelines. Mr Pun made the vow to fight on following stern criticism this week from Permanent Secretary for Education and Manpower Fanny Law Chiu-fun. Ms Law said it was 'unsatisfactory' that the council had failed to corroborate a single complaint received in the past four years and that nearly half of the 58 complaints lodged with it in the past two years remained unresolved by the end of last month. Mr Pun said the council was hampered by its lack of legal clout and insufficient resources. The danger was the council could be viewed as being toothless, dissuading teachers from lodging complaints, he said: 'We have not done any formal studies, but I do get this impression. Friends have told me that there is no point making a complaint as nothing comes out of it at the end. It is difficult to judge the extent of this. 'Only with a proper legal standing will we be able to give teachers assurance that there are consequences to breaches of conduct.' Former chief executive Tung Chee-wah pledged to establish an independent professional body to govern the teaching profession in his inaugural speech in 1997. An EMB spokeswoman said the bureau recognised the need to establish a general teaching council 'in the long run', but priority had been given to other reforms. 'In view of manpower and time constraints, the present is certainly not an appropriate timing for the government and the teaching profession to proceed with the establishment of the proposed council.' Dominic Chu Fu-yao, chairman of the Subsidised Secondary Schools Council, said he was in favour of establishing a ruling professional body, but that it was 'not absolutely necessary'. 'The question is whether that is such an important priority for education,' he said.