The Education Bureau has been urged to introduce clear guidelines on part-time arrangements for teachers in order to retain talent and allow time for further studies. Education Convergence vice-chairman Ho Hon-kuen said there was a growing trend for experienced teachers to apply for part-time posts. 'Though we have not conducted any study, among our network we know many experienced teachers, who are mostly mothers, have switched to part time because of family reasons, while others want to continue their studies,' he said. Mr Ho said teachers chose to resign because they were torn between their families and a heavy workload. 'It is a great loss to the teaching field that these experienced teachers quit. There is a need for the bureau to issue guidelines regarding how work will be arranged for teachers once they are part timers,' he said. The bureau's website gives details on part-time salaries, but there is nothing about working hours and other employment arrangements. 'The present guidelines do not touch on how work should be arranged at all. Good principals do their best to cut teachers' workload by half, but some less capable ones just cut teachers' salaries by half and still give them lots of work,' he said. Au Pak-kuen, of the Professional Teachers' Union, agreed that guidelines should be issued. 'Most principals are considerate to teachers' needs, but there are exceptions. To make it easier for teachers in need to switch to part time, it would be better to have clearer guidelines,' he said. Susan Chan, who has taught English at secondary schools for more than 10 years, was diagnosed with depression three years ago and now wants to switch to part time. She asked to share work with a colleague, Mary Lam, who had high blood pressure, so that they could both have more time for rest. But they said the part-time contracts they were offered meant the teaching workload would be cut, but the time in school would remain the same. Miss Chan and Miss Lam withdrew their requests and remain working as full-time teachers. 'My boss insisted that we both have to go to school five days a week and stay until the last lesson ends. She says she does not want other teachers to feel bad if we are allowed to leave early,' Miss Chan said. 'I do not see why I have to suffer from a pay cut of 50 per cent. My salary would switch to a part-time payment, but my work would not.' An Education Bureau spokeswoman said schools and teachers should reach an agreement by discussing working arrangements in detail. Either party could consult the bureau if they failed to reach an agreement, she added.