The Panama government has closed schools in the country because of a drought which is causing the hydroelectric power plants to stall. 60% of the country's power comes from hydro-electric stations. While schools are closed, businesses remain open with some restrictions to their use of air conditioning. Shopping malls will be allowed to stay open except during the middle of the night.

The excellent website global voices online has reported on comments on social networking sites in the country about the closure. People have pointed out that it is doubtful whether closing schools will save power, since all the children will be elsewhere using electricity. Others said that it was interesting that schools were being closed, while malls were staying open - which use much more electricity. Another tweeted: 'By closing schools we are also closing brains, which means there will be no need of explanations.' Someone else was worried that the crisis would be used as an excuse to bring in drastic measures.

Teachers in Panama, the fastest growing economy in Latin America went on strike in 2009 because of the appalling conditions of school buildings and again last December against a new law which opens the door to the privatisation of schools.