World Class
Education for Sustainable Development

Empowering Youth to Learn,
Any time, Any place, with Anybody,
through Any device
to create a more Sustainable Society

Since 2004.

The OPEDUCA concept (2007) is still today the only approach for the integration of ESD in daily education, the first building on regional partnerships, acknowledging the role of industry and the strategic essence of teacher professionalization.

The OPEDUCA Project is an ongoing initiative, dating back to 2004, to create regional Alliances of Industry, Education, Science and Governmental bodies in order to realize the best possible education for Youth - their development is believed to be the most effective pathway toward a more sustainable society. The focus is on students aged 10-22, enabling and empowering them to learn Anytime, Anyplace, with Anybody, through Any Device on future-defining themes to become the entrepreneurs and citizens of a future only they can imagine and create.

'OPEDUCA' stands for 'OPen EDUCational Area', referring to youngsters' social-demographic home region throughout which sources of education are brought and bound together for their development. From there the learning process spans the globe, crossing borders and binding cultures in a joint strive towards sustainable development. 

The OPEDUCA-concept became groundbreaking as it bases education and schooling on ESD (Education for Sustainable Development), re-establishes the value of 'School' as a nexus of learning, invests in the professionalization of Teachers, sees to an effective contribution of Industry in education, bridges the worlds of schooling and work, realizes a 'Whole Student Approach' and provides the foundation for local-to-global learning- and action for sustainable development.

Original Contributions to ESD

Starting in 2004 en finding its way to the world of ESD in 2007, it can be concluded the OPEDUCA Project and -Concept was
15 years ahead of time in the development of ESD, conceptually but also effectively. What has been conceived and applied in practice in the course of the years made it to double underlined key priorities today. The following unique and still unparalleled contributions of the OPEDUCA Concept (all of which are extensively introduced on this website) found their way to national and global policy programs, noting their true application is still partly outstanding since an understanding of their meaning deserves renewed attention:

  • Re-positioning ESD is an ongoing learning process throughout the system of schooling
  • From early on and effectively positioning Youth as key to sustainable development 
  • A pathway for Transition through the Dimensions of (Education for) Sustainable Development, replacing the anthropocentric People, Planet, Profit mantra
  • Acknowledgment of Industry as a crucial and continuous Partner in Learning i.e. Education throughout the system
  • The effectuation of theme-based Transdisciplinary Learning
  • The design and more year extensive testing of the 'Whole School Approach', coming from a 'Whole Region Approach', generating an informed opinion to advance to a 'Whole Student Approach'
  • A Learning Continuum for ESD, merging learning principles and concepts in an encompassing whole to bring peace of mind and progress to schools
  • Development and implementation of ESD Teacher Training and Teacher Professionalisation

Watch the video-recording of the UNESCO Webinar March 2023
‘The Activation of ESD-based Education – from Promise and Paperwork to Practice’
facilitated by Dr. Jos Eussen, Maastricht University .

Time to Progress

Seeking for progress in the formal realm of research- and policy development in 2022, progress in ESD has been found extremely slow; the ongoing conferencing and reporting witness that a sense of urgency still lacks, making the application of ESD suffer. Furthermore, we see that the transformative capacity of ESD tends to whither away further now that outdated approaches are brought to the stage as new insights by visionaries who are none, claiming position while opportunities for change vaporize further. An informed critical perspective learns that contemporary notions such as 'ESD Competences' and a 'Whole School Approach', let alone the way regional and (inter-)national cooperation and the involvement of industry is imagined, appear to be(-come) more a threat than a change for ESD and sustainable development in general.

It is therefore important to make clear what has already been said, discussed, developed, and been done, also by those dedicated to the course before 2004. For the better good of ESD it is crucial to point out where contemporary i.e. popular ideas will likely not work and delay the transformation even more. Hence, these pages contain a proud retrospect to honor those truly involved in the effectuation of ESD for decades, word worries about progress and propose again a hopeful road ahead by pointing out possibilities still not merged in national and global policy programs.
Observing ESD anno 2023 we see reason to pick up where we paused in 2017 in order to further contribute and support efforts around the globe that will make a difference - pushing forward to make ESD live up to its transformation promise. 

The OPEDUCA Project

Following the development of a multi-disciplinary partnership of all relevant sectors in society as of 2004 and the successful application of a jointly developed instrumentation in daily educational practice between 2008 and 2016, the OPEDUCA Project has been a unique effort. Over 2.300 students from 55 schools in Primary, Secondary and further education as well as more than 400 teachers and school leaders directly participated in the development and testing of the OPEDUCA concept and instrumentation, taking in the opinion of over 400 scientists, managers of more than 140 large- and midscale companies and experts in various other disciplines. Development and testing in daily practice expanded over 12 countries.
While academic research proceeded since 2016 the concept expanded as did the network of experts and practitioners, finding ever more supporters in education, industry and science around the world.

Follow The OPEDUCA Project on LinkedIn

The OPEDUCA Concept

The OPEDUCA-concept sees to a full-scale transition of education- and school practice towards 'ESD-based Education', building on present capacity and meeting contemporary standards while effectuating future possibilities. Respecting Youth as the Future itself the concept is truly student-centered while Teachers are not downgraded to mere coaches but reach further mastery as world-wise Educators; a re-valuation of the profession integral to the effectuation of the concept.
OPEDUCA delivers on the transformative promise of
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) by placing a transdisciplinary pedagogy at the core of schooling, building on the original 2004 vision that conceptualized ESD as an ongoing learning pathway, a continuous thread throughout the educational system, from primary up to and including higher education, intertwined with local and global society.

The OPEDUCA Project and -Concept are found to remain unchallenged and unparalleled, while schools around the world are more challenged than ever, we see the time right to start the 2nd phase of The OPEDUCA Project. You are welcome to learn and join this not-institutional, open and ongoing societal effort - reach out if you have a question, proposal, remark or critical note, we look forward to your ideas, contribution and friendship.

An academic study of the OPEDUCA Project and -Concept is available as thesis by Dr. Jos Eussen

Headlines of the OPEDUCA Concept

ESD as ongoing process throughout the system

The best way to realise a more sustainable society is by a continuous development of the young. They should have every chance to learn about those themes that define our common future. Therefore we envision ongoing learning pathways, driven by themes derived from the 'Dimensions of Sustainable Development'. We replace a fragmented schooling system by an integrated ongoing process, starting in primary and including higher education, along the way bridging schooling with the world outside, basing a process of life long learning. Schools are empowered to stand strong and independent from third-party projects and consult, focusing on the students' ongoing learning pathways, improving while meeting contemporary demands.

The merger of Subjects to Transdisciplinary Education

The ongoing thematic learning-process molds and at the same time accentuates disciplines and traditional subjects, meeting an array of priority educations in the fields of Language, Math, STEM, Entrepreneurship, Environmental Education, Cultural Learning and World Citizenship - presently stand-alone educations become a naturally integrated whole through transdisciplinary learning.

Schools basing their education on OPEDUCA no longer need separate programs, projects and stand-alone activities to provide contemporary education, no lasting third-party involvement or service providers. They can rest assured the entire curriculum is met, no longer as a goal but as a minimum requirement checked along the way. 

A Real
Local-to-Global Learning

All developed, tested and put into practice during The OPEDUCA Project, has been done in a cross-boundary manner and cross-border, building towards the effectuation of a local-to-global learning space - one both a condition for and result of the collaborative study of the themes, exchanges between students and  global alliance of partners building on fertile regional grounds.

Respecting the differences in policies, systems, curricula, regional and national challenges, cultures and beliefs, we found that youngsters' development unites us all.

OPEDUCA is about learning to live and prosper together - as one world on the only one we have.

Creative and Entrepreneurial talent-development of Youth

Our society is no longer prefab made,  structures no longer guaranteed by the past, or ruled by yesterday's institutions. The Next Generation will face new challenges and opportunities, requiring youngsters of all sorts and talents who can and dare to turn their ideas into action. It is this sheer essence of entrepreneurship the OPEDUCA Concept holds high and brings to practice.

Schools and Partners in Education in each OPEDUCA region structurally integrate entrepreneurial learning, entrepreneurship education, financial literacy and the broader spectrum of the economical disciplines in the learning processes, anytime, anyplace. Therewith gradually but definitely closing the gap between schooling and work.

Acknowledgment of Industry as a Partner in Education

Not only will he call for employees become louder because of a graying population and a growing demand for contemporary knowledge and skills, the demands will also change when future defining themes prevail over those defining our anthropocentric age. Information frozen in textbooks nor cuddly next-to-school projects will match industries' and general labour markets' demands.
A challenge calling for a more precise and profound cooperation between the worlds of schooling and work, addressing how tomorrows' needs can be learned today.
The OPEDUCA Concept goes clearly beyond the recapitulation of universal competences listed as '21st Century Skills' or 'ESD Competences' by prioritizing personal qualities and personality.

ESD training and Professionalization of Teachers

Most of us have and cherish that special memory of a teacher or educator able to energize us, provide that additional bit of t(h)rust, a personality who opened our eyes and made us more confident to learn, study and develop. In OPEDUCA this teacher is back - Teaching key to ESD.
From a whole person and demanding perspective, the profession returns to where it belongs - next to the students, more than a coach, not denying the instructor, becoming an Educator. The project came forth with a "Master in OPEDUCA" - an instrument preparing for and supporting new practice, one going beyond regular training, enabling teachers to create and manage the growth and construction of OPEDUCA in their schools, to re-take ownership of their education.

so that consequently ...

Schools are re-established
as Nexus of Learning
in regional Society

Once Separate Educations
become One

Students in search for Education reclaim their Learning

Creative Student Energy 
can be Released

Teachers can follow their pathway towards empowered Educators

The OPEDUCA Project was made possible
through a multi-disciplinary partnership
that supported its development and
numerous practices over the course of the years.

© Copyright 2004-2022 KidsLive! Foundation - All Rights Reserved
For academic reference and publications: Eussen, J. F. G. (2022). ESD-based education - - ISBN 9789464235906