Merging World Educations

Learning Anytime, with Anybody in a Global perspective


OPEDUCA Global manifests the local-to-global learning connection, taking the regional working of the other instruments to the global level through exchanges and connected learning processes. It sees to the student's understanding of one’s own region as a composing part of a global society. The concept expands the working of Flight for Knowledge and BusinessClass, taking students’ study of the fabric of society from local to global by way of exchanges with Peers, Teachers and Educators in other regions around the world, reaching out to educational sources beyond one’s own region.
Understanding that social consensus on what is considered (un-)sustainable and what constitutes progress can differ across cultures, countries and regions, it is an essential component of ESD to have students experience how objective the ‘knowing’ about these is if (normative) valuations play a role, learning to understand how people (re-)act towards sustainability.
Today's youth is obviously requested to not only understand the interconnected world in which they live and the complexities of the global challenges faced but also see a way forward and become competent to interact and bring about effective change.

A Local-to-Global
Learning Space

Each OPEDUCA is regarded to exist in continuous connection and exchange with other regions, underpinning a local-to-global learning space driven by student exchanges and cooperative learning processes. Obviously, these are intended to enrich the learning with cultural, social, historical and geographical aspects, support language development, presentation skills and most profoundly the development of personality in the light of world citizenship.
Each instrument and activity in OPEDUCA is set in a global perspective - the learning is not restricted to time and place, nor can it be obstructed by national or cultural borders. Learning is seen as the best means to cross each and every border that still divides humankind today, to truly work towards a collective stewardship of our ecology and society. Given its transdisciplinary community-based quality, the OPEDUCA Concept herewith seeks to provide a fundamental contribution to transformative education.

Continuously Connected Learning

  • The global perspective is addressed in the smallest bits and pieces of learning in OPEDUCA when exploring themes, objects and subjects, learning to understand actors and factors. Whether the soil potatoes grown on is studied or students' present the exploitation and trade of sea-sand to built high rises on coastlines, they are stimulated and guided to see the global perspective by ways of direct, people-to-people, connections. Thereto it is of the utmost importance youngsters can meet, communicate and learn together, gain understanding and respect for each other as bases for future cooperation. In OPEDUCA it comes logic to connect the young as future global citizens through direct and virtual connections, anytime, anyplace, through any device.
  • Off-setting the influence of shallow social media
  • Understanding Cultures
  • Getting rid of imposed stereotypes
  • Work through possible deep-seated fears
  • Oppose false beliefs

  • Learning to understand life from a global perspective goes beyond creating awareness of and respect for others. OPEDUCA Global not merely underlines togetherness, joint values and rights but intends to also point out our responsibilities and an involved active positioning. Certainly in times where 'the world' is presented to youngsters in a nearly continuous stream and by sources of a vague or even questionable nature, their critical perspective is key to sustainable development if we expect them to develop transformative capacity. 
Critical World Citizen,
World-mindedness building from Holistic understanding

Obviously, for youngsters to mind the world, they first have to become conscious, see the world through untainted eyes, not through the lens of nations, defined cultures or dogmas and mantra's laid upon them. Following the Dimensions of (Education for) Sustainable Development we take the wholeness of the world as starting point and goal, world-mindedness being more than understanding present human-made constellations and interests. Inherent also to the instruments Flight for Knowledge and BusinessClass, the student is regarded to go out, observe and address themselves what is and can be.  

In the same line of reasoning, the OPEDUCA Concept naturally fits with an holistic perspective, yet going beyond seeing the self in relation to a global community while merely referring to human values and beliefs. For any lasting transition to a world sustainable in every dimension, youth has to (re-)discover what the holistic perspective and -development means.

Virtual Youth Conferences

Initiated by the RCE Rhine-Meuse (operator of The OPEDUCA Project) already in 2013 RCE Grand Rapids hosted the
1st Virtual RCE Youth Conference - empowering the world's next generation of leaders on regional and universal issues.

Schools from Regional Centres of Expertise on ESD (Rhine-Meuse - Netherlands, Grand Rapids - USA, Medellin - Colombia, Curitiba -Brasil, Saskatchewan – Canada, joined to equip youth with the tools to communicate, collaborate, innovate and problem-solve in order to begin to address most complex issues of sustainability. Ryan Huppert, Grand Rapids school improvement administrator, opened the Conference with the words: "This Conference seeks to give students the perspective and practice of a global dialogue in hopes that they will better understand the unique water dilemmas facing the regions of the world and in turn reveal and embrace the universal themes of sustainable evolution through dialogue, empathy and collaboration". 

City High Middle School their knowledge of Quagga mussels and the Great Lakes, answering a series of questions, e.g.: what are Quagga mussels? how did they get here? what are they doing? how does this affect the ecosystem? Students from Colegio Montessori presented their research on Colombia's principal river, the Magdalena, flowing 1,528 km through the western half of the country. Participants were widely informed about the existing environmental problems like indiscriminate poaching of wildlife, overfishing, deforestation, pollution by garbage and sewage, oil and heavy metals and illegal mining. Resulting in a tragic situation that has already led to a decrease in drinking water, fisherman jobs, a shortage of animals and forest products as well as river flooding. The following exchange amongst others led to a comparison with regional management in the Netherlands), levels of awareness within the public domain about problems with rivers and long-term effects on water flows. Following, students from Luther College High School focussed on the Wascana Watershed which feeds the Qu 'Appelle river, a watershed unique as it doesn't have its source in the mountains. Without the man-made lake, Wascana Creek would likely go dry during the summer.

"The Virtual Conference was spectacular. I sat for two hours and listened as students on three continents engaged each other in deep learning on issues with both local and global relevance. The technology worked flawlessly, the facilitation was just enough to ensure that all voices were heard, the students were attentive and asked probing questions of each other.

So today the world is a little smaller, and the future is a little brighter

Mayor George K. Heartwell
City of Grand Rapids

The Youth Committee of RCE Curitiba-Paran gave their presentation on Iguazu river 1,320 km long, with a drainage basin of 62,000 square km, flowing through Brazil and Argentina, the city of Curitiba and onto the Iguazu falls. In July 2000 more than 4,000,000 litres of crude oil spilled into the river from a state-run oil refinery near Curitiba.The students highlighted the importance of our common action to prevent further environmental destruction.
Stella Maris College from the Netherlands led a discussion on dykes, a Dutch craft since 1000 a.c. Special attention was paid to the Delta Works, a series of major construction consistingo f dams, sluices, locks, dikes, levees and storm surge barriers to protect a large area of land.
A prsentation followed by an exchang on how the resulting fresh water lakes affect salt water organisms that existed there before the dams were created, how the rise of sea levels due to global warming would affect the Netherlands and how the constructions affected sea life, students pondering how to manage changes in the eco-system following the Dutch interventions in nature.

Overall the students argued and agreed on the need to reinforce environmental ESD in all the schools at all levels, promote teachers training on ESD, create ESD portal/internet with the water quality evaluation results, promote ESD events to amplify community awareness, empower the media to make frequent insertions of ESD knowledge to motivate the citizens to participate more actively on the environmental preservation.

Teacher Students in Virtual Exchange Connecting Worlds

Nothing goes in schooling when we don't re-invest in and structurally change the way we educate our next generation of teachers - an open door it seems, but a practice wished for not that easy to bring near since Universities and certainly Teacher Training institutes and -faculties appear to stay on a too-safe and thus dangerous pathway when it comes to innovation.
As example, thanks to the drive and experience of Prof Garth Pickard from the Institute of Energy, Environment and Sustainable Communities (University of Regina, RCE Saskatchewan), young talents from this Canadian stronghold in Education could be brought together with peers from the Teacher Education at Fontys University of Applied Science in Sittard (Netherlands). Once the virtual bridge was created we enjoyed a meeting of minds and a sharing of attitude where it comes to Education for Sustainable Development that gives hope for the next generation of Teachers on their way.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon,(2012)
at the Launch of his Global Initiative
on Education

'A Mismatch of skills and today’s livelihoods. With more than 1.2 billion young people in the world today, our youth have the potential to alter our course in history. Yet, in many countries, education systems have not caught up to the 21st-century knowledge-based economy. Teaching by rote curtails creative or divergent thinking. It is rigid and is not tailored to individual needs or talents. This form of learning is widespread. There is a mismatch between the competencies needed in today’s world and those acquired through the current education system. Too often technical and vocational education is specific and narrow thus limiting job opportunities as skills become quickly obsolete in a dynamic and rapidly changing world. It is a legacy of the current education system. Schools have traditionally prepared people to pass exams, proceed to the next level and graduate into the workplace. We now face the much greater challenge of raising global citizens. Promoting respect and responsibility across cultures, countries and regions has not been at the center of education. Global citizenship is just taking root and changing traditional ways of doing things always brings about resistance. This entails changing the way education is organized— making content more relevant to contemporary life and global challenges, introducing innovative and participatory teaching and learning styles. We must rethink the purpose of education and prepare students for life, not exams alone.' 

ESD in relation to
Global Citizenship Education

Global Citizenship Education is logically integrated in the OPEDUCA-concept as it pursues the same vision, namely regarding the empowerment of learners of all ages to become proactive contributors to a more just, peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and sustainable world. Like with ESD, the focus not only on the content and outcome of what is learned, but also on the process of how it is learned and in what type of environment the process takes place, emphasizing action, change and transformation. Acquiring values and attitudes relevant to addressing global challenges is underlined, as is the fostering of skills for collaboration, communication and critical thinking.
Alike, there are other educations that appear to stand-alone, yet should be observed as a logical more self-supporting whole. 

Towards the Merger of World Educations

Although differently named, obviously various 'world(ly) education' are related and largely overlapping. Since the global perspective is too important to be left to a fragmented approach, through OPEDUCA Global we strive to effectuate various strands and convictions in an integrated way, taking a more holistic approach.

As the College of Education of Washington University sums it up, multicultural education is an idea, an educational reform movement, and a process (Banks, 1997). As an idea, multicultural education seeks to create equal educational opportunities for all students, including those from different racial, ethnic, and social-class groups. Multicultural education tries to create equal educational opportunities for all students by changing the total school environment so that it will reflect the diverse cultures and groups within a society and within the nation's classrooms. Multicultural education is a process because its goals are ideals that teachers and administrators should constantly strive to achieve.

The OPEDUCA-concept is in line with the notion of Peace Insight that peace education activities promote the knowledge, skills and attitudes that will help people either to prevent the occurrence of conflict, resolve conflicts peacefully, or create social conditions conducive to peace. Core values of nonviolence and social justice are central to peace education. Nonviolence is manifested through values such as respect for human rights, freedom and trust. Social justice is realised by principles of equality, responsibility, and solidarity.

Alike the Council of Europe notes, Human Rights Education is not only a moral right, but also a legal right under international law. Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has a right to education and that "Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace". Furthermore, Article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that, "School discipline shall be administered in a manner consistent with the child's dignity. Education should be directed to the development of the child's personality, talents and abilities, the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, responsible life in a free society, understanding, tolerance and equality, the development of respect for the natural environment".

"While the world may be increasingly interconnected, human rights violations, inequality and poverty still threaten peace and sustainability. Global Citizenship Education (GCED) is UNESCO’s response to these challenges. It works by empowering learners of all ages to understand that these are global, not local issues and to become active promoters of more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable societies" (UNESCO).
In general, a world citizen is a person who places global citizenship above any nationalistic or local identities and relationships. An early expression of this value is found in Diogenes of Sinope (c. 412 B.C.; mentioned above), the founding father of the Cynic movement in Ancient Greece. Of Diogenes it is said: "Asked where he came from, he answered: 'I am a citizen of the world (kosmopolitês)'". Albert Einstein described himself as a world citizen and supported the idea throughout his life, famously saying "Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind." World citizenship has been promoted by distinguished people including Garry Davis, who lived for 60 years as a citizen of no nation, only the world.

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For academic reference and publications: Eussen, J. F. G. (2022). ESD-based education - https://doi.org/10.26481/dis.20220201je - ISBN 9789464235906