The city needs a professional teachers' body with statutory powers, the Council on Professional Conduct in Education has urged in the light of recent scandals involving educators. Teachers should uphold their moral standards and live up to public expectations, council chairwoman Yu Wai-bing said yesterday in a new call to set up a professional body. 'Misconduct from any educator is intolerable,' said Dr Yu, of the Hong Kong Institute of Education's educational policy and administration department. The current council could issue guidelines for teachers, she said, but it lacked governing authority over those in breach of professional conduct. It was restricted to advising the government on the punishment to be meted out, she said. Dr Yu was speaking out after recent cases of teachers sexually abusing under-age pupils. 'The guidelines ban teachers from taking advantage of their professional relationships with students for personal gain,' she said. 'Teachers are urged to show respect for the law and the behavioural norms acceptable to society as a whole.' She reiterated calls to form a general teaching council. 'There is a pressing need for the government to set up the GTC. We've been talking about it for over a decade. The policies were laid out, the money has been set aside and the teaching profession has also agreed on setting up a general teaching council.' Former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa said in 1997 'within two years' he would 'set up a general teaching council, a professional body for teachers'. He earmarked HK$20 million for the initiative. Council vice-chairman James Hon Lin-shan stressed the importance of the government setting up a general teaching council to review the professional code of ethics. A spokeswoman for the Education Bureau said the government had agreed to set up such a body in the long run, but the sector would need to discuss the details.