Pressure on students is incredibly high. ISO notices that this pressure on students has increased from several sides: students have to finish their studies more quickly, studying is becoming more expensive and students are urged to do a lot of extra resume building activities during their studies. This is caused, on one hand, by government policies like the high Binding Study Advice (BSA) and the public loan system, and, on the other, by high social standards that require students to distinguish themselves in order to find a good job or internship. This pressure leads to worrisome statistics, such as the fact that 25% of students in higher education at least occasionally had the wish to be dead or not wake up.
In addition, ISO perceives a lack of good, regular and appropriate counselling and help that is available for students. Waiting lists for student psychologists are long and many students only see their tutor, mentor or study counsellor a few times a year.
The ISO therefore advocates:
- A culture change in which the focus shifts from normative study success to integrated student success
- The normalisation of studying longer than the nominal length of study for reasons such as student participation, board years, gap years or other reasons that serve to achieve student success
- The abolition of the cum laude predicate by all institutions
- Realistic guidance about the study programme and the (future) labour market for students
ISO knows that some measure of stress is inevitable within higher education. It is therefore important that students can receive good, readily available and appropriate support, guidance and help. ISO therefore advocates for:
- Proactive provision of information about (financial) facilities at both institutional, faculty and programme level
- Attention to individual needs within information provision; information provision should be approached from the student’s needs
- Broad information on and attention to student welfare and related issues such as performance pressure, alcohol and drugs and mental problems
- Widely available and findable care within educational institutions and good connections with external care, for a strong and fast network of referral when help cannot be provided within the institution