Greater Equality in Education
RWTH and Aachen University of Applied Sciences continue to look for hidden talents
Since 2017, the RWTH and Aachen University of Applied Sciences talent scouting program has been supporting talented students from families without academic experience in the Aachen city region and the districts of Düren, Heinsberg and Euskirchen on their educational path. The study "Future and Career Plans after High School Graduation" has now examined the effect of the talent development program "Talentscouting NRW" on the educational progress of the participants. The results of the study, which was conducted jointly by the Social Science Research Center Berlin and the University of Cologne, show that the program significantly increases the rate of university enrollment among students without an academic background. This is a clear indication that the central goal of talent scouting, to reduce inequalities in the educational trajectory, is being achieved.
In the meantime, RWTH Aachen University and Aachen University of Applied Sciences have made the program permanent and have anchored it in their respective student advisory services - but the talent scouting team continues to work across the universities. Five years ago, the two universities jointly set up the program for the Aachen region in order to promote equal education and opportunities. Since then, students at 34 schools in Aachen and the Städteregion have received individual counseling and support. "We are convinced of the talent scouting approach and, in doing so, we look with pride at the many talented young students whose studies we have been able to guide to a successful conclusion since its introduction," explains Professor Aloys Krieg, Vice-Rector for Teaching at RWTH Aachen University. "For us as a university, talent scouting is a cornerstone of our diversity concept," emphasizes Professor Martina Klocke, Vice-Rector for Diversity and Equal Opportunity at Aachen University of Applied Sciences.
In the current school year, the team is largely back to scouting in schools, after the service had been switched to online operation for more than a year due to the pandemic. So far, 1,519 talents have been supported by Talentscouting Aachen. 510 students come from comprehensive schools, 360 attend high schools, and the rest attend further education and vocational colleges or receive individual counseling. 654 talents have a migration background, 1,116 come from families that do not have an academic background.
Talent scouting provides individual support for gifted students in the transition from school to work and studies. The aim is to supplement the services offered by the student advisory services at both universities with an accessible, individually-tailored advisory and support program that is available in the long term. The program helps to discover hidden talents by developing visions for the professional future, pointing out paths, creating helpful networks and overcoming barriers together. In this way, the talent is given the opportunity to actively shape their own future independently, regardless of their background or type of school.
Talent scouting is implemented in North Rhine-Westphalia at 17 university locations with a total of more than 70 talent scouts. The talent scouts cooperate with around 400 schools and currently advise around 15,000 school students. A total of 30,000 students have already benefited from this advisory service. The Ministry of Culture and Science has been providing permanent funding of around 6.4 million euros per year for the Talentscouting NRW program since 2021.