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Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5471-5487; doi:10.3390/su7055471

Sustainable Education: Exploiting Students’ Energy for Learning as a Renewable Resource

Faculty of Arts, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Blijde-Inkomststraat 21, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium
Academic Editors: Ian Thomas and Marc A. Rosen
Received: 6 November 2014 / Revised: 20 April 2015 / Accepted: 29 April 2015 / Published: 5 May 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Approaches in Education)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [682 KB, uploaded 5 May 2015]


In this article, “sustainable education” is reconceptualized, drawing on the insight that education runs on the energy of students, teachers and all other stakeholders involved. Sustainable education systems are defined as systems in which students’ natural energy for learning is renewed (rather than depleted) and no talent gets wasted. Students’ energy for learning is geared towards the acquisition of crucial competences for the 21st century (including the competence to make their own lives work and to make life on the planet work), which they can deploy and further develop on a long-term, sustainable basis. For this to happen, education systems need to be built upon strong, up-to-date curricula and to design classroom activity based on cutting-edge knowledge on what drives human learning. To this end, school teams’ joint energy for educating needs to be tapped and renewed, and assessment needs to be primarily used to further improve the quality of education. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable education; learning; 21st century skills; equity and excellence sustainable education; learning; 21st century skills; equity and excellence
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Van den Branden, K. Sustainable Education: Exploiting Students’ Energy for Learning as a Renewable Resource. Sustainability 2015, 7, 5471-5487.

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