A Child working in the Cotton Fields of Uzbekistan Teachers and children in Uzbekistan are being forced to work in the cotton fields According to the organisation Cotton Campaign, schools are shut for 2 to 3 months in the autumn and teachers forced to organise the children to go and work in the cotton fields, and then work alongside the children, picking cotton by hand. If teachers refuse they are threatened and liable to dismissal. According to the organisation: Teachers also have to lie about the school closures and denial of education to the children, by ensuring that there is no written evidence that school was interrupted. During the Autumn harvest children do not attend school for 2-3 months, and teachers are required to record full and regular attendance in the registration books in order to make it look that the classes are taking place. Teachers are  not only expected to organise forced labour in the cotton harvest, they also have to clean streets with the children, recycle metal and organise elections, as well as weeding and preparing the cotton fields in the spring. This is not the only example this website has found of teachers being forced to do work other than teaching - in India for example, teachers have to leave school for weeks to complete the census and to do election duty. The Uzbekistan example is hohwever the most shocking that we have come across and the latest manifestation of  it is starting now as teachers and children are forced into the fields for the cotton harvest. Western governments turn a blind eye to the Uzbek government's blatant use of forced and child labour. According to the US organisation Human Rights Watch, the US government failed to cite Uzbekistan in its Annual Global Trafficking in Persons report. As  a spokesperson for that organisation put it: “The failure to classify Uzbekistan properly for the fifth straight year is wholly inconsistent with the well-documented evidence of its systematic abuses. The US effectively sent a message to Uzbek authorities that enslaving children for profit in abusive conditions is cost-free.” Interestingly a trawl of World Bank policy documents concerning Uzbekistan did not turn up any reference to the months teachers and children miss due to forced labour. Indeed its  basic education project  for the country from 2009 starts by blaming teachers for the relative poverty of education: The main factors that hinder improvement of learning/teaching quality in general secondary schools are lack of teachers’ professional competence to promote active engagement by students in their own learning, insufficient and outdated equipment in classrooms and special rooms, poor provision of modern teaching aids, and ineffective use of available teaching aids and information technologies. Few schools have been able to create a stimulating atmosphere to encourage students to be masters of their learning and teachers to apply new teaching/learning methods, and to cooperate and to share best practice. It beggars belief that even the World Bank could fail to mention the appalling exploitation of teachers and children in the country when formulating a project ostensibly aimed at improving education.