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The world's economies face acute anthropocentric challenges. We are witnessing significant structural disruption, driven by an urgent need to redress a historical focus on unchecked economic growth and unequal access to resources, requiring seismic transformations of our economic, social, and educational systems. Debate about sustainable development is becoming less controversial. Yet, many countries still struggle to commit to action. Whist political leaders engage in commendable discussion on sustainable practices, impacts range from rhetoric to constrained solutions. Our socio-economic and environmental challenges require collective effort, as we witness a contestation of development models that omit environmental preservation, lack inclusivity and compromise future generations. In this context, in which we seek alternative models that are more applicable to reality, education emerges as a driving force for change. Education already plays a role in the design of the socio-political economy. So, thoughtfully designed, it can help to define our understanding of sustainability beyond political and economic selection of goals and self-serving dimensions.

Given transformative character, education can help to bridge the need for an inclusive and sustainable economic development model. Through an economic lens, this paper offers critical and reflective insights into how education can contribute to the necessary transformation for the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We argue that, with the right changes, education and economic development can be synergistic in pursuit of circularity, thereby meeting the requirements for just and equitable access, and preventing the depletion of natural resources needed for a thriving and flourishing humanity.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.