Panama's teachers have extended a three day strike started this Monday. They are demanding that the government invests 6% of its GDP in education - at present the rate is only 2%. Yet Panama has rich sources of income, both from the canal - a vital waterway which links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and from the banking sector - Panama is one of the oldest tax havens in the Caribbean, as is clear from the eponymous Panama Papers.  

The teachers are demanding that education should be public, free and of good quality. At present 90% of school infrastructure is in a dire condition, with many schools in indigenous communities even lacking walls and floors. 

Teachers are also demanding that a pay rise promised to them be honoured in full. Teachers in many hard to reach rural areas are owed up to eight months of back pay - yet these same teachers often have to use their own meagre resources to pay for food so that their students can eat.

This latest strike is just the latest in the long battle of Panama's teachers to have proper funding for education. Not only that but they are also having to fight education 'reform' measures, including privatisation and performance related pay.

It is outrageous that while elites use Panama as a means to enrich themselves still further, teachers and children continue to suffer from poverty and appalling conditions.