If the youth of today can learn anytime, anyplace, with anybody,
through any device on futures' most relevant themes, connected globally,
then that is the best way to bring near a more sustainable world.
Key is to open schools to society, having students learn in real life
and acquiring skills and competences with which they will define our future society.

The thinking and reasoning underlying the concept merges a vision on learning,
consequently education and schooling, with one on sustainable development.
The result is found to be a groundbreaking proposal and pathway to bring our
society together again, here and worldwide.


For an accurate understanding of the OPEDUCA-concept and the resulting reconceptualization of ESD, it is relevant to consider some preliminary thoughts and considerations, formulated around 2004 and put to test during the years following. This moreover since these are controversial when compared to the discourse in sustainable development while they eventually underpinned the conception of ESD-based Education i.e. -Schooling. Seeking understanding of the OPEDUCA-concept, implementation and working it is essential to see how these two visions intertwined, got interlinked and eventually grew into one. 

a non-conformist approach and positioning

As to Sustainable Development

The thinking underlying OPEDUCA did not start out from the well-known narrative many scholarly publications in the field of ESD start out with, referring to Brundtland and a range of conferences. Pointing out mankind’s efforts by summing up an ever longer and dated series of politics- and policy-induced programs, plans and agreements, does not reflect brave actions in challenging times but an institutionalised process kept upright to stay away from such most truly. Already in her 1988 Christmas speech, former Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands said: “The earth slowly dies and the unthinkable, the end of life itself, becomes conceivable …. We people have become a threat for our planet”. This basic and most inconvenient truth is worded in endless variety in policy reports and literature which pulls our attention to uncontrolled population growth, excessive deforestation, destruction of habitats, extinction of species, increased greenhouse effects causing climate change, acid rain, erosion of stratospheric layers and the social-economic aspects of it all. Restating, reconfirming, re-acknowledging and so forth these claims and notions in an endless series of conferences and research papers adds no value.
Moreover since it is common in the world of research and policy-development to speak of ESD in terms of togetherness, uncertainty and complexity, pointing to a re-alignment of existing systems, we argued we might be more divided than perceived and with every more, living in times more certain than believed.

to be published further as of February 2nd, 2022  

Away from school and education, back to human learning

As to Learning

In line with the vision on Sustainable Development, the OPEDUCA Project focuses on the development of youngsters, enabling and empowering them to learn Anytime, Anyplace, with Anybody, through Any Device about future defining themes to create a more sustainable future. We spoke about education as a magnificent work of humankind being treated unfairly and expressed that ESD as convergence of our strive for sustainable development through education did not live up to its promise.
The OPEDUCA-concept makes a full-scale transition of education- and school-practice possible, building from present capacity, meeting today's standards while effectuating future possibilities. It takes learning beyond conventional practices by introducing innovative learning methodologies and whole system learning strategies that improve education from within, positioning teachers and students as the owners and drivers of transformation through learning.
Acknowledging a natural order of Earth, Well-being and Welfare, the OPEDUCA-concept starts from these “Dimensions of Sustainable Development” (Eussen, 2007) from which future-defining themes are derived, eventually informing an integrated education. Primary, secondary and further education are connected through students’ permanent inquiry-, problem- and community learning on these themes, thereby tapping into regional society and global communities in which people and organisations become ‘Partners in Education'. The learning is student-based, the learning an ongoing pathway as a tread throughout and beyond the system.

We Questioned ...

How come our disciplines and school-subject start from the inside out, from the present (and welfare) and not from an holistic perspective? And, although it might have been logic and useful over a 100 years ago to built an educational system which is stacked and consists of components, why do we think there is a divide between schooling and work, why did we allow it to become so institutionalised the machinery took control? And why can't those in charge not see children and not mere component to feed to the machine to be assembled in the presence but the future itself? And aren't youngsters and actually all of us very much alike all over the world, isn't it nonsense and even dangerous to hold on to the idea we belong to nations and are caught in cultures? Why don't we learn and develop together to begin with?

4 basic insights regarding Learning

Both strands of reasoning i.e. envisioning, constructed by a multi-disciplinary cooperation of people from Education, Science, Industry, Governmental institutions and others complementary to these four sectors, eventually brought forth 4 most basic insights.
do not think, reason and argue in People, Planet, Profit

Turn to the Dimensions of Sustainable Development

think away from a fragmented line of formal education apart the real

Reason in terms of ongoing learning processes like a tread throughout the system, continuously connected with the outside world.

don't reason from cemented adult propositions and illusions of knowledge

Dare to consider the developing child literally as the Future itself.

no longer allow to restrict thinking and action by considering nations, borders, segregation and separation

Respect everyone as citizen of this world learning in a local-to-global connected community so that we can respect Earth and Wellbeing.

In a few words ...

The future themes derived from the Dimensions of Sustainable Development proofed not only of universal quality, but also allow students transdisciplinary learning processes that meet and go beyond present curricula and policy-demands. They involve sources and Partners in Education form the local, connecting with peers to a global learning community. Industry as well as other sources of information and experience find a logical place in the whole, contributing in an effective way that also generates their own transition process. As we found no sound reason to harshly divide schooling into phases, their can be one continuous flow, on ongoing pathway, of (lifelong) learning that gradually provides for the constructivist development of knowledge and skills, making youngster gradually more competent to understand, address and turn to action on the future defining themes.

EU policy and plans in line with the OPEDUCA Vision
Characteristics of European sustainability education

Early 2022 the European Union presented its view and and policy on environmental- and sustainability education. Although there is still a strong referral to 'green', the characteristics are now completely in line with the OPEDUCA-concept as presented to Commision in 2016, tracing back to the 'The OPEDUCA Project Europe'.

The EU policy and plans can be found here

  • effective learning for environmental sustainability starts from early childhood education and care
  • takes a lifelong learning approach
  • creates supportive learning environments where the institution as a whole is active on sustainability
  • is learner-centred, engaging, positive and based on real-life experiences
  • supports educators, including leadership teams, to teach and act for sustainability
  • fosters collaboration and partnerships in local and wider communities
  • involves young people in meaningful ways
  • builds sustainability competences

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