Education International
Education International

EI mourns the loss of a friend, and leader in education

published 14 October 2014 updated 16 October 2014

It is with profound regret that we announce the death of Ms Stella Maldonado, General Secretary of CTERA, and member of the EI Executive Board.

Stella was a committed trade unionist and a respected leader of her organisation for many years. She held an active role in the opposition to neoliberal education policies during the 1990s, defending an inclusive public school system for all. When the Argentinian government triggered a change of course toward greater support for public education, she stated that “we deserve this moment, the birth of something new, to which we have contributed and to which we will help grow.”

Her death has profoundly moved those who knew her, of whom there were many, due to her numerous appointments within and beyond CTERA: a union delegate and leader, teacher, social worker, Stella has been aptly described by one of her colleagues as “a dedicated activist” with a special engagement in the defence of human rights. Her dedication was evident when she strongly supported the mothers and grandmothers of the May Square movement in Buenos Aires demanding justice for the victims of the dictatorship.

Those who worked with Stella were always impressed by the conviction and hope that drove her.

“Stella showed us, and reinforced for us, that teaching is a life-long commitment,” said Fred van Leeuwen, EI General Secretary. “She frequently said that we needed to help transform schools to make them accessible to the poorest children in order to empower them to build societies based on justice, equality and solidarity.”

Gone far too soon, Stella’s tireless work will continue to shape public education for generations to come, and her powerful words will provide motivation for all who strive to follow in her steps:

“We have to remember every day, when we enter our schools, together with our colleagues, that education is a sure bet on the future. It is embodied in these children who look at us with high expectations, who come to us with their stories, their problems, their previous knowledge, their culture and their loves. We are teachers because we are convinced that there is a better future for them, and because we want to be part of it, shaping it together. If we did not believe in a better future for them, we would not be able to teach.”

Stella Maldonado, 1949 - 2014