The International Baccalaureate (IB), formerly the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO), is an international educational foundation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The International Baccalaureate (IB) offers high quality programmes of international education to a worldwide community of schools. There are more than 855,000 IB students at 3,036 schools in 139 countries.
Founded in 1968 in Geneva, IB offers three educational programmes for children ages 3–19. The organization’s name and logo were changed in 2007 to reflect a new image and for legal reorganization. Consequently, “IB” can refer to the organization itself, any of the three programmes or the diploma or certificates awarded at the end of the diploma programme.
International Baccalaureate Curriculum is a relatively new concept- so to say- in India. India is becoming quite a hub of these IB schools, with the number surging to 65 in the last two years.
This is getting increasingly popular among students, too ‘cause of the plethora of choices that are provided to the students regarding the subjects one can graduate school with.
A simple run through the entire system, it awards diplomas in three educational branches,
- PYP: The Primary Years Programme (Kindergarten to Class 5).
- MYP: The Middle Years Programme (Class 6 to Class 10).
- DP: The Diploma Programme (Class 11 to Class 12).
The subjects range from Languages to Arts and Elective subjects which are usually vocational in nature. The IB programme is more practical and application-based. It has a broader spectrum of subjects that lead to all-round development.
IB examinations test students’ knowledge, not their memory and speed. There are no examinations till the Middle Years Programme (Class 10). The focus of the IB pedagogy is on ‘how to learn’ rather than ‘what to learn’. There are no prescribed textbooks; students can choose their own books. The purpose of IB is to produce global citizens. But sometimes, the IB programme does use the local curriculum as a base. For example, Hindi can be offered as a second language in the IB Diploma Programme. The IB curriculum is more challenging than educational boards like CBSE and ICSE. But the challenge is in the quality of assignments, not in the amount of work assigned.
In addition, all DP students must study a two-year course called Theory of Knowledge (TOK); work to produce an Extended Essay (EE); and engage in Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS). The Diploma Program is tough. The additional compulsory elements such as the Extended Essay – a mini thesis, Theory of Knowledge – a course which questions the basis of learning and the learnt, and the Creativity, Service and Action program where students have to show documented proof of participating in the arts, social service and sport, does make the course challenging. But the system allows for understanding rather than memorizing which eases the load off the students tremendously. This methodology of learning also allows students from other boards to easily integrate into the IB systems, although the preferred syllabus in India for entry into the IB is the IGCSE.
The Diploma Program no doubt arms the child with the right skills to cope with stringent University education, revealing to them that learning is not a ‘one text book’ affair but a compilation of knowledge from different sources and points of view, which is to be interpreted rather than reproduced.
Before enrolling self in an IB school, one should be clear of its authenticity, a simple “International” in the title or an institute wherein several Boards are taught, like GCSE etc. AN international institute is one wherein the ambience is cross-cultural and pedagogy is practiced and the only two systems which actually incorporate this are the IB and the IGCSE.
The drawbacks of this system are that it isn’t universally available ‘cause of the expense and the fact that Indian Universities don’t give the marking system of IB their dues, the grading systems are different.
A different approach to education with a dash of pragmatism is here to stay.