A Better Understanding of the IB Curriculum
International Baccalaureate (IB) education system is a world-renowned school curriculum that offers four high-quality educational programmes to schools worldwide. Headquartered in Geneva, the governing body is International Baccalaureate Organization or IBO. The format and structure of the IB curriculum is aimed at developing intellectually curious, knowledgeable and socially conscious young people who make a positive impact on this world and become lifelong learners. The three pillars of IB are:
- Global contexts for education,
- Multilingualism, and
- Intercultural Understanding
The four distinct programmes of education under IB for different age groups have been constituted as follows:
- IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) that is meant for children aged 3 to 12 years. This sets the stage for children to develop and active interest in various concepts and become aware of their surroundings. Engaging in activities like sports, arts and crafts, dance and music etc form an important part of learning.
- IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) that is meant for students 13-16 years old and helps develop a sense of engagement with different subjects with advanced concepts and problem solutions focus. The students study a combination of subjects, both social sciences and sciences, languages and humanities.
- IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) for high school students aged 16 to 18 years. This is the conduit between the high school and college years and prepares students with deep knowledge in a multitude of subjects. The students, apart from their regular studies, undertake Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essays, which are researched papers compiled after consulting various sources of information and in which students present their critical views on the topics.
- IB Career Related Programme for preparing high school students for career pathways. These help the students to work with career counsellors, academic advisors and supervisors to navigate their career choices and take subjects that align well with their future career aspirations.
IB education focuses on hands-on experiential learning, espousing the students’ analytical faculties and giving them opportunities for self-learning, critical thinking and logical evaluation. It encourages two ways active conversation and discussion in the classroom. It focuses on action through engaging with challenging ideas and issues and ways to solve them. Finally, it functions on the pillars of inquiry, action and reflection as opposed to rote learning and working to only obtain grades as in some traditional curriculums.
There are distinct advantages to the IB education and studying in IB programme schools. Some of these are:
- It empowers the students to take a stake in their own learning. Students choose subjects that sync with their future vision, and undertake both inside and outside classroom activities to advance their learning. Subjects are taught with a combination of teaching and transferring the learning to myriad of projects, role plays, critiqued essays, competitions, and research papers.
- IB education prepares students as global citizens by imparting to them future-ready skills and an international mindset. The curriculum includes topics of international importance and global issues concerning human populations. With international student populations on campuses of the best IB schools, students also get to understand world issues as they apply to local communities and how effective solutions can be found for them through a collaborative effort.
- With the tech-enabled digital world of the 21st century and a mandatory requirement for tech skills among students, the IB curriculum facilitates this area of growth among its students too. The classroom flexibility for technology enables learning, emphasis on STEM innovation, and amalgamation of technological tools in social science learning make education better and student-friendly.
- IB curriculum in residential schools in India and worldwide also includes components of social service, community outreach, mentoring, and volunteering, and discussions on gratitude, inclusion, multiculturalism and globalisation. This steers the attention of the students on the fact that their education should have a purpose further than just acquiring grades and degrees and should bring s positive impact on others’ lives. This encouragement to become more creative, and sensitive and undertake self-awareness and self-development goes a long way in making the student future leaders.
- The qualities of active listening, empathetic communication, teamwork, cultural sensitivity, self-management, and continuous academic and creative betterment are honed in the students through the IB curriculum. Model United Nations, debates, and quizzes on topics of world peace, financial literacy, governance and policy decisions, diplomacy and environmental concerns provide exposure to students to refine their skills in negotiation, and leadership.
- IB curriculum gives the students a definitive advantage of tackling the bachelor’s and master’s education at overseas universities easily since its teaching methodology and learning environment is similar to those of the international institutions. Students develop the habit of independent study and creative as well s analytical writing, which hold them in a good stead in professional years too. The world recognition of the curriculum also puts them at an advantage while seeking admission to universities anywhere in the world.
In conclusion we can say that the IB education system and curriculum are the game changer in the present times as they are student centric, practice based and adopt the 21st century methods of teaching. Parents should carefully consider the advantages of the IB school education and make informed choices while selecting the school for their children.