Well-being and extra support


The ISO observes that the pressure on students is increasing on several sides; students have to study faster, they often have to borrow to pay for their studies and already during their studies they gain useful (work) experience to build up their CV. On the one hand, this pressure stems from increasingly strict social norms that translate into policy measures, such as the introduction of a Binding Study Advice (BSA) of sometimes as much as 60 ECTS and the introduction of a loan system that forces more students to work alongside their studies. On the other hand, this pressure also stems from increasingly binding social standards, whereby it is the norm to share successes and good experiences/moments on social media and to show ‘the perfect picture’.

Current affairs

Much research has been done on student welfare by both individual scientists and educational institutions. Although there is variation in the results, most studies show that the majority of students experience a lot of pressure and stress and that between 20-30% of young people have psychological complaints. In order to gain a better understanding of the situation, the ISO has been working for some time on a national study that will be carried out in the spring of 2021. The ISO also participates in the official working group on student welfare of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Together with various parties from the field, this working group is working on five ambitions regarding inclusive education.

Viewpoint of the ISO

The time spent studying should be a time in which students have the space to develop and discover themselves. A system and environment that do not offer this space result in stress and pressure. The ISO therefore argues for the creation of space in both the education system and the labour market and society. The ISO wants to move towards a situation where a mistake does not immediately leave you thousands of euros in debt, and where a gap in your CV does not immediately make you unsuitable for a job. Nevertheless, a little pressure is part and parcel of life, but to ensure that students can handle this pressure well, good student guidance is essential. The ISO therefore advocates accessible help if necessary, but also preventive help. In this way, we make students more resilient and teach them skills that they will benefit from for the rest of their lives.