Talent development can take on many forms and can mean something different for each student. At its core it means that the student is at the centre of shaping his or her educational programme. This is essential to keep education accessible to all and to ensure that students learn the way that’s best for them. A students’ academic career should not be seen in terms of pure numeric yield, where students are guided through their studies as quickly as possible, but should focus on the personal and professional development of each individual student. Thus, the focus should not be on study success but on student success.
Students should have the opportunity to discover and develop talents and skills during their studies. This is not only good for the student himself: talent development also benefits society. It is therefore in the interest of the entire field to allow students to develop to their full potential, both inside and outside the curriculum. It is necessary to give students room for their activities outside the boundaries of the curriculum: for example, a board or participation year, starting a business or doing volunteer work. In contrast, students should not feel that their degree alone is not enough for success in the labour market and that they are expected to undertake extra-curricular activities to compete.
The profiling fund (Dutch: Profileringsfonds) is important for this: here, educational institutions have the obligation, under certain conditions, to provide financial support to students who are in certain ways hindered in their study progress. ISO argues that the profiling fund should continue to be well distributed and sufficient for every student, even in the event of rising student numbers.
In recent years, pressure on students to complete their studies more quickly is increasing, reducing the space for extra-curricular activities. In 2019, the National Youth Council (NJR) published a survey on student boards. This survey showed that accessibility to governance is under pressure. Board years and other extra-curricular activities should not be possible only for a select group of students. ISO is committed to the accessibility of boards and advocates that admission to such programmes should not be based solely on the student’s average grade. In order to give students from all socio-economic groups the opportunity to do a board year, ISO, together with the National Chamber of Associations (LKvV), is pushing for tuition-free board years.
Student intellectual property is also an important issue. It is often unclear what the rights of students are in relation to their institution. ISO, in cooperation with Dutch Students for Entrepreneurship, is pushing for the proper regulation of intellectual property for student entrepreneurs at Dutch colleges and universities. Students have to right to retain ownership of their own ideas. Agreements between institutions and students need to be clear and transparent.