Selected Moments of the 20th Century

A work in progress edited by Daniel Schugurensky
Department of Adult Education, Community Development and Counselling Psychology,
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT)


Argentine teachers erect White Tent ( Carpa Blanca) in front of Congress and begin a three year hunger strike

The Carpa Blanca

On April 2, 1997, frustrated by the low commitment of the government to fullfil its promise of increasing the education budget (from 3.7 percent to 6 percent of the GDP), and tired of low wages and working conditions, Argentine teachers set up a very large tent (la 'Carpa Blanca') in front of the National Congress and began to take turns in a continuing hunger strike. Since that moment, until the dismantling of the tent in December 29, 1999, hundreds of teachers from all over the country took turns fasting. The tent suddenly became a centre of attention, and a centre of public education about the state of public education in the country. Also, the tent was the location of more than 100 concerts and other cultural events, as well as several radio and TV programs.

Marta Maffei, secretary-general of the Confederation of Education Workers of Argentina (CTERA), thinks the teachers achieved widespread popular support (about 87% of the population supported the protesters) because, unlike traditional strikes, this unique form of protest did not interfere with classes.  


Murals outside the Carpa Blanca.

DS interviewing Marta Maffei inside the Carpa Blanca.

Sources: (February 19, 2001). (February 19, 2001)

For more information, see also:

Prepared by DS (Photos by LMS)

Citation: Author (2001). Title. In Daniel Schugurensky (Ed.), History of Education: Selected Moments of the 20th Century [online]. Available:  (date accessed).

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