Provincial education officials are studying whether they should get tough on tardiness in public schools.

The province is considering allowing teachers discretion to dock marks from students who turn in late assignments, Education Minister Nancy Allan said on Thursday.

Allan said the change could better prepare students for real-world realities.

"I think the real world sometimes is a harsh place ... if there's no excuse for [not] meeting a deadline and no consequence for that — what message is that?" Allan asked.

"Deadlines are a part of the real world … and I think students recognize that."

New guidelines will be sent out to teachers and school superintendents to gather feedback about the proposed change.

The head of the Manitoba Teachers' Society said she agreed with giving teachers room to make judgment calls when it comes to late work being handed in.

"One of the things that frustrates teachers the most is one size fits all policies," Pat Isaak said. 

"Sometimes it's a good idea to be flexible and sometimes marks should be docked."