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What is the International Baccalaureate (IB)?

Creating a better world through education

Imagine a worldwide community of schools, educators and students with a shared mission to empower young people with the values, knowledge and skills to create a better and more peaceful world. This is the International Baccalaureate (IB).

IB programmes aim to provide an education that enables students to make sense of the complexities of the world around them, as well as equipping them with the skills and dispositions needed for taking responsible action for the future. They provide an education that crosses disciplinary, cultural, national and geographical boundaries, and that champions critical engagement, stimulating ideas and meaningful relationships.

The first IB programme, the Diploma Programme (DP), was established in 1968. It sought to provide a challenging yet balanced education that would facilitate geographical mobility by providing an internationally recognized university-entrance qualification, but that would also serve the deeper purpose of promoting intercultural understanding and respect.

What the DP offers students

Through the DP, schools are able to develop students who:

have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge

flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically

study at least two languages

excel in academic subjects

explore the nature of knowledge through the programme’s unique Theory of Knowledge course.


Approaches to teaching and learning

The approaches are centred on a cycle of inquiry, action and reflection—an interplay of asking, doing and thinking—that informs the daily activities of teachers and learners. They also place a great deal of emphasis on relationships. This reflects the IB’s belief that educational outcomes are profoundly shaped by the relationships between teachers and students, and celebrates the many ways that people work together to construct meaning and make sense of the world.


Approaches to teaching

In all IB programmes, teaching is:

based on inquiry

focused on conceptual understanding

developed in local and global contexts

focused on effective teamwork and collaboration

designed to remove barriers to learning

informed by assessment


Approaches to learning

The five categories are:

thinking skills

research skills

communication skills

social skills

self-management skills

Why offer the DP?

International research shows that there are many benefits to choosing the DP over other 16-19 curricula. For example:

DP students are better able than their peers to cope with demanding workloads, manage their time and meet the expectations placed on them, according to one study

Analysis of DP students in Canada, the UK and the USA found that the DP’s extended essay improves students’ approach to learning in higher education

72% of students taking the DP in China attend one of the world’s top 500 universities, according to a 2013 study.