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.

OPEDUCA focusses on the development of youngsters, enabling and empowering them to learn Anytime, Anyplace, with Anybody, through Any Device. It is based on a vision on education that makes young people’s development key to the creation of a more sustainable future.
OPEDUCA thereto makes a full-scale transition of education- and school-practice possible, respecting the various systems in which schooling is embedded and honoring existing curricula. It takes learning beyond conventional practices by introducing innovative learning methodologies and whole system learning strategies that innovate the educational systems from within the school, in such a way that teachers and students together become the drivers for transformation through learning.
Acknowledging the sustainability of our eco-system, well-being and welfare, The OPEDUCA Project, starting from these “Dimensions of Sustainable Development” (Eussen, 2007), sees to the creation of lifelong learning processes on future defining themes. Primary, secondary and further education are connected through students’ permanent inquiry based studies on Food, Water, Energy, Building and Health for which they tap into industries’ and sciences body of knowledge. In the course of the learning process traditional classroom instructions are gradually mixed with real life learning in the world outside school. A world in which industry and others of educational value become ‘Partners in OPEDUCA’.
Learning in the OPEDUCA context is integrated in regular daily education, integrating what used to be ‘standalone projects and solitary activities’. Industry, universities, culture, the arts and societal sources are educational partners contributing to the specifics of the students’ ongoing thematic learning lines.

Although The OPEDUCA Project bases its main efforts in school as a most strategic learning context, the Vision reaches further to the broader context of human development as such, regarding 'the Student' as a universal developing individual.


Governments, multilateral organisations and large scale NGO’s thus far have trouble in dealing with the challenges, still get lost (with)in institutions and regulations self-created. Even in the more privileged western economies progress is coming to a hold while 80% of regions worldwide stay behind in terms of wellbeing and (minimal) living standards.

The drive and potential influence of industry (through their CSR, HRM but also core-business) is often channelled through the system put in place, therewith being confronted with long procedures, barricades in action, many ‘layers’ of representing and consulting organisations. Initiatives can strand in that, leading to gatherings and policy-making at a too great distance from society. Initiatives, such as promoting Technology (ICT but certainly Technics), seem to be(come) stand-alone projects and add-on activities for schools (not integrated, delivered through in-between agencies).


The OPEDUCA Project was initiated bottom-up, by the field itself, building on the concept of ‘OPen EDUCational Areas/regions’ (social-demographic communities with a degree of coherence) in which Industry, Science, Education and (in a 2nd phase) regional Governmental authorities join in purpose and strength to address the most important en effective aspect of sustainability: the development of the next generation (all ages, focus 10-20). The aim is to empower and enable youth to open up, enter a mode of AAAA-Learning, Anytime, Any Place, with Anybody, through Any device. Aspects of that learning are: Entrepreneurial, Inquiry-based, Problem-based, Critical, Communicative, Community-based, Real-Life, Practical. Education then based on themes that define the youngsters’ and our common future (Water, Food, Energy, Construction and Health). ‘Soft’ and ‘Hard’ disciplines are integrated, talents not divided. Integration of Philosophy, Humanity, Citizenship and Creative Arts on a daily bases. Education and the world of Work ‘phase-in’; no student left behind, each empowered to be(-come) the entrepreneur of a more sustainable future.

The Dimensions of Education for Sustainable Development

Ongoing Learning Process through systems and levels, balancing public and private influences

Cornerstones of learning in OPEDUCA

Young peoples’ education on future relevant themes in OPEDUCA is defined as active-, inquiry-, problem- and community based learning. In one continuous flow knowledge and understanding are achieved by developing practical skills and competencies through interactions with the local world in which they live and from thereon with peers in a global learning space.
The themes students generally start to learn about are those that will define our common future and can bring together young learners from all over the world by their universal character. Food, Water, Energy, Construction and Health are therefore starting points in OPEDUCA Flight for Knowledge.

To better enable young people to develop skills, competencies and practices for meeting futures' challenges, various educational priorities are merged, creating an integrated approach. Key aspects and subjects such as math, language, cultural awareness, entrepreneurship, environmental education, internationalization, technology, science and the use and development of ICT, are folded into an integrated learning process.

Teachers, School managers, Scientists, Entrepreneurs, Artists, Politicians, Parents and young people themselves, previous years worked on the developed of what became ‘pillars’ of The OPEDUCA Project in order to bring the above to practice. Several of these are presented on this site as 'OPEDUCA Program'.

Each pillar consists of a range of instruments and activities that have all been extensively tested and brought to practice by hundreds of teachers and students during 2012 - 2017 in regions in over 10 different countries around the world.

The development of The OPEDUCA Project has been supported by five Dutch Ministries, the European Union and a range of cities, companies and societal organizations. Above all, OPEDUCA has been and will be further realized by Teachers and Students.

The OPEDUCA Project combines different pedagogies to a powerful way of learning, in each instant meaningful for the student.

Personalization and Customization, Students will want their learning experience to meet their interests, and academic needs all being personalized for them. Time is also less relevant to today and tomorrows student. They do not wear watches that tell time… They wear watches that manage their lives and it will not matter if it is morning or evening their inner clock directs them. Thus, their inner clock and not a pre-determined schedule will direct learning. Schools will have to establish out of building resources for students to connect in to and allow for individualized instruction. Students will work with peers who are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and they may not even be within the same school district.

J. Philip Harris, MBA
Superintendent - Daniel Boone Area School District

Published on July 26, 2016

Many in society don’t have a problem with a lack of knowledge or understanding of science, engineering and energy but think that people are uneducated if they don’t know classical literature.

In this lies a fundamental problem, if we are to meet the challenges of climate change and energy supply we need society as a whole to better understand the issues, challenges and solutions.

I could at this point say that we need to have energy issues higher in the national curriculum along with a range of other measures that others need to take. However, we also need to look at it from the viewpoint of what are the energy professionals doing to improve the levels of ‘energy literacy’?

At one level we need, like many involved in science and engineering, look at how we communicate the subject to others. Do we use language that is full of complex words, jargon and other mechanisms that block understanding?
How good are we at developing simple analogies and explanations?

Outside of my working day I have become a STEM Ambassador (Science, Technology Engineering & Maths) - in this I work with schools to support the STEM subjects.
I was pleased earlier this year to support Bredon Middle School’s team of girls who were in the final of the BP STEM Challenge. Their project was about building insulation and design - and the level of enthusiasm was fantastic. In part this was because they were learning by experiment. They also understood how the challenge they were given related to the future. Also they were not burdened with the normal ‘academic’ learning framework. This was a small group of girls working on this outside normal school hours - so they had commitment. For me a key challenge was being able to support them without unintentionally degrading what they had done by being too precious about pure science. (To reach the finals was a major achievement and one of which they can be proud.)
Going back in education further, my wife Anne supports a literacy project with a local school. If children have difficulty with reading they cannot progress in any subject. Next they need numeracy and then we can move on to science literacy. There are many opportunities for professionals to work with children, but it will be many years before the results of that can influence what is happening.
We still need to address the problems of wide spread ‘energy illiteracy’ - from simple things such as the difference between kW and kWh, to more complex issues of energy supply and security - amongst those in the workplace and general public.
That said, it’s funny how many people with no energy knowledge can speak with certainty on issues such as wind power!
My bottom line is that we need to be aware of the lack of ‘energy literacy’, the long term risks it poses and act whenever we can to address it. For many that will mean learning better ways of communicating to ‘non-energy professionals.’

John Pooley