If you thought the General Teaching Council's code of conduct was an intrusion into your private life, spare a thought for your brethren in Tajikistan. The education ministry has stipulated that teachers' beards must be no more than 3 cm long. And that's only for over 50s. Under 50s must be clean shaven. The suspicion of beards is a legacy of the 1990s civil war between the government and Islamic extremists. But it's not all repression. Agence France-Presse reports the country's teachers may now take lessons wearing galoshes. Boots are a must-have in Tajikistan, particularly in the north, where sudden downpours regularly cause flooding and landslides. Wellington boots for whiskers - seems like a fair swap.