From Schooling towards Lifelong Learning

Ongoing Learning Pathways 
as a tread throughout the formal educational system
continuously connected with the real


The best way to achieve a more sustainable society is through the continuous development of the young. They should have every chance to learn about those themes that will define a more sustainable future. Therefore the OPEDUCA-concept builds on the creation and implementation of on-going learning processes as a tread throughout the formal educational system. We no longer think in a stacked and fragmented structure of schooling, see the line from primary up to and including higher education as an on-going process, bridging schooling with the world of work and leading to livelong learning.

We Questioned ...

Why is it we fragmented school-based education, why is it stacked? How can age be linked to development-age? Why is it acceptable students can drop out or loose direction in between? How come Schooling and (future) labor market are apparently different worlds?

"Students are Learners in Search for Education"

Jos Eussen (2008)

Following the Dimensions of ESD and the key-positioning of youth, pupils and students should not be seen as objects in the process of schooling but as learners in search for education. Consequently, their learning enhanced by education is facilitated but not commanded by a system of schooling in place, the learning process projected as perpetually future oriented and ongoing. 

Thereto it wsa proposed to envision ongoing learning pathways as a tread throughout the formal educational system embedded in society and underlined the importance to consequently differ between learning, education, schooling and the system (J. Eussen, 2004).

As the formal educational system is an assembly of formats of schooling, it is incoherent and disjointed, both during the various stages as well as in relation to future (working-)life, a structure throughout which the individual can stumble and get stuck, even fall out in between. Moreover, the stacked and pre-defined level, tempo and sequence of schooling, meant to accommodate an amorph mass, per definition does not match (the differing phases of) a youngsters’ personal development.

A disjointed Educational System

The consecutive parts of the educational system constitute a fragmented pathway of schooling, one divided and split harshly in level and sequence, providing gaps between following segments that allow for student-dropout and mismatches with society - gaps being traps.
The command of the curricula which dictates examinations to mark the end of a segment seeks to comply with present and not future society.
Learning from the real world and in the practice of work is now limited by the structures to incidental efforts in primary- and secondary education and work-based learning during vocational training, not naturally connected in ecology and society which is essential for the thematic learning envisioned.  

Respecting the added value of the amenities and facilities of schools but also understanding their limitations as learning environments, the ongoing learning process is further seen as intertwined with sources of education outside the system. For reasons of accessibility, meaningfulness and social identification, these are first projected in the students’ own regional social-demographic realm (their OPEDUCA) with an emphasis on connections in the world of work, presuming an extensive availability of relevant sources of content and experience.

Projecting students ongoing learning process as a tread throughout but also beyond the formal educational system, personal development prevailing over structures, and contextualising the learning pathways by future defining themes derived from the Dimensions of ESD, I came to propose an ongoing thematic learning process unfolding over the years as the essence of ESD.  

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