Higher education offers students the opportunity to develop as individuals. At least as important is the transfer and discovery of knowledge and skills that contribute to the progress of society and the economy. The Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg (ISO) chooses to represent the interests of ambitious, critical and curious students, as well as students who want to acquire these qualities. This requires high-quality education that is created by students and lecturers in consultation with the labour market and society.
In ISO’s ideal image, students come into their own in a close-knit educational community. Here, student, instructor and institution are closely connected. Students and instructors have the necessary skills and show commitment. An instructor has both the substantive and didactic capacities. Participation in higher education is valuable and inspires students and instructors day in, day out. Once started, there is no room for non-commitment: students are actively involved in their educational process. This is guaranteed by a critical and constructive attitude of lecturers towards students and vice versa. In this way, freedom and the acquisition of knowledge are linked to taking personal responsibility. It goes without saying that students look for extra-curricular challenges that contribute to personal development in addition to education. Self-development is given space, but this is done in consultation with the teaching institution. After all, the student is involved in the educational process and feels responsible for its content. Students must be able to make optimum use of national and international opportunities.
Adequate government funding is a basic condition for ISO’s ideal. The student’s investment, in addition to the contribution from the state, must be financially acceptable. A fair balance between generations is a condition for the funding of higher education. Society and business contribute where the added value for education and students is visible and as long as this is not at the expense of the independence of higher education institutions.
To achieve this ideal, the ISO works together with its supporters and partner organisations and seeks out politicians. The ISO can be recognised by its young, fresh, open-minded tone and its passion for education. In a dynamic and creative way, the ISO team approaches and presents its point of view to students, partners, politics and media. The organisation forges strategic alliances and actively acts as a coalition builder in order to achieve a broad base of support. The association is, with regard to this process, reliable, honest, but also looks for the limits. The ISO is known as a learning organisation that is proud of its successes. With ISO’s ideal image in mind, it shows itself to be a realist. This means thinking up, proposing and defending alternatives. The ISO will continually discuss other options: dialogue is important. The door to Bemuurde Weerd is therefore always open for a good discussion or a robust debate. The ISO opts for the interests of students who feel involved in their own education. This gives the ISO its strength and right to exist.
The Dutch National Students’ Association (ISO) is the largest national student organisation in the Netherlands and represents the common interests of more than 800,000 students in the Dutch higher education system.