In India, we’ve always known the ICSE, the CBSE and state boards in each state, but as a parent, now there is more available too!
If you are looking out for schooling options, whether at class I or later on in your child’s progress through school, you have probably heard of the IB and wondered what it’s all about. Given the growing interest in this option, I did my research into the International Baccalaureate; here is what I found, and what you should you know if you are considering an IB school for your child.
Globally, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program is one of the most renowned boards of education, and for good reason. It has been around since 1968 and India is included in the list of countries with the most diploma program exam takers of 2014. It’s diploma are valued by world’s leading universities and multinationals corporations.
Based on the author’s own research, this post is supported by TRIO World Academy, a global platform for learning global values imparted through excellent education of highest standard. The school educates students from nursery to higher secondary as per Cambridge IGCSE, as, A-Level and IB Curriculum. TRIO is ranked among the top 10 International schools in India.
What is the IB program?
The IB program offers international education to students of all ages. There are three programs:
- Primary Years Program – 3-12 years
- Middle Years Program – 11-16 years
- Diploma Program – 16-19 years
Primary Years Program
The Primary Years Program (PYP) has a specialized framework that will guide and help students achieve their maximum learning capacity. IB schools emphasize on their students personal development with the help of highly qualified and trained teachers and administration, giving children the base they need for the future.Global issues and international views are incorporated within the curriculum, enabling students to be knowledgeable about the world around them from a young age. In the final year of the Primary Years Program, students in IB schools are often assessed through a PYP exhibition. This is where students will conduct in-depth studies about real-life problems and showcase their individual skills that have been developed through their years in PYP. PYP offers students a sound foundation at an early age, helping them tackle the challenges in their coming years.
Middle Years Program
The Middle Years Program (MYP) is a five-year program where students from the ages of 11-16 years will dig deeper into their subjects and connect it with the real world. In IB schools, hands-on learning is an aspect that helps children implement the theories they learn in class. If you’re considering enrolling your child into the Diploma Program of IB, it’s a smart decision to start beforehand if you haven’t already at the PYP stage. The Middle Years Program will give your child the motivation to excel. MYP Students also participate in long-term projects aimed towards increasing responsibility, time management and understanding of the subject at hand. These projects also enable students to make their own decisions and will develop their communication skills with their teachers and fellow classmates.
The Diploma Program of the International Baccalaureate is one of the most offered IB programs around the world. It’s popularity has a definite reason, as students of the Diploma Program have an understanding of the world at large and are trained to look at real-life issues through various perspectives, as they were taught in class. The core of the IB curriculum model consists of Theory of Knowledge (TOK- an oral presentation and a 1,600-word essay), The Extended Essay (4,000 words) and Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS- students take part in various activities that relate to creativity and action). The Diploma Program assesses students based on their internal (during the year) and external (exams and essays) performance. The ability to retain knowledge and apply the theories that the students have learned are part of the basic skills that are evaluated. The Diploma Program is at a much higher level than most curriculums worldwide and is definitely aimed towards those students who are willing to spend time and work hard towards their goals.
Benefits of the International Baccalaureate
- The Diploma Program is recognized by universities worldwide
- Increased opportunities in the aspects of scholarships
- Students become risk takers, independent learners, knowledgeable, liberal minded
- Students are encouraged to think outside of the syllabus, which usually isn’t a norm in many Indian government curriculums
- Links are created between the real world and the theories learned in class
- There is an international focus in IB schools
Is the IB Program right for your child?
Well, there is no one right approach that suits every child. It makes sense to choose a curriculum/board that is in line with your child’s learning style. The IB program includes a strong mathematical and science-focused syllabus that requires critical thinking and evaluation of concepts. If your child is a strong writer, the IB program will offer many opportunities for writing and expressing, much more than those of normal government boards as there are many personal projects that involve essays in IB. The International Baccalaureate Program is an inquiry-based approach, where students have to ask questions constantly, in order for better understanding and analysis. IB students are also required to communicate, take initiative and speak out when needed. There is a sense of individuality and independence in this program, where students must work by themselves but can take their supervisors help when required. The IB program is quite intense, as students are in a demanding environment where they must organize and take decisions on projects, choosing their own topics at times as well. If your child likes having options and leeway for their own interpretation, they will do well in IB.
Is the IB program accepted by Indian colleges/universities?
This is a worry that many parents have, but the IB is no longer a stranger to India! The Association of Indian Universities (AIU) has declared IB as an equivalent to standard boards in India such as ICSE, CBSE and various counterparts. Hence, parents do not need to worry about acceptance into colleges. A student can write and medical or engineering competitive examinations.
How does IB differ from CBSE or ICSE?
The IB program focuses more on application of the theory learned in class. It is observed that boards in India allow memorized answers, however, in IB, a more in-depth analysis is required in order to get good marks. Questions in IB offer more leeway with individual perspective, whereas subjects in CBSE, ICSE, etc. usually, do not. In IB, there aren’t any prescribed textbooks, while CBSE, ICSE, etc. have rigorously specific books from which the teachers explain concepts from. IB offers more freedom with learning in this aspect. Schools have the liberty to choose books relevant to subjects. IB is considerably more difficult than CBSE, ICSE, etc. due to the level of thinking required, but IB offers different levels of subject (standard level, high level) so students can choose as per their capacity.However, all curriculums have their weak points and plus points and it is important that you note your child’s learning style down before choosing a board for them.
How can you be sure an IB school is genuine?
Each school that offers one/all of the IB programs must be recognized by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) in order to be called an IB School. The standards for teachers are also set high as there are workshops held by the IBO for prospective and experienced IB teachers. It’s mandatory for IB teachers to attend Professional development workshops organized by IB.
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