What is an IB education?
Imagine a worldwide community of schools, educators and students with a shared vision and mission to empower young people with the skills, values and knowledge to create a better and more peaceful world. This is the International Baccalaureate (IB).
In 1968 the first programme offered by the IB, the Diploma Programme, was established. It sought to provide a challenging yet balanced education that would facilitate geographic and cultural mobility by providing an internationally recognized university entrance qualification that would also serve the deeper purpose of promoting intercultural understanding and respect.
With the introduction of the Middle Years Programme in 1994 and the Primary Years Programme in 1997, the IB identified a continuum of international education for students aged 3 to 19. The introduction of the IB Career-related Programme in 2012 enriched this continuum by providing a choice of international education pathways for 16 to 19 year old students.
Each of the IB programmes reflects a central desire 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 effective relationships.
These aspirations are summed up in our ambitious mission:
The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.
These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right..
The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who recognize their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet. Central to this aim is international-mindedness.
International-mindedness is a multi-faceted and complex concept that captures a way of thinking, being and acting that is characterized by an openness to the world and a recognition of our deep interconnectedness to others.
To be open to the world, we need to understand it. IB programmes therefore provide students with opportunities for sustained inquiry into a range of local and global issues and ideas. This willingness to see beyond immediate situations and boundaries is essential as globalization and emerging technologies continue to blur traditional distinctions between the local, national and international.
An IB education fosters international-mindedness by helping students reflect on their own perspective, culture and identities, and then on those of others. By learning to appreciate different beliefs, values and experiences, and to think and collaborate across cultures and disciplines, IB learners gain the understanding necessary to make progress toward a more peaceful and sustainable world.
An IB education further enhances the development of international-mindedness through multilingualism. All IB programmes require the students to study, or study in, more than one language because we believe that communicating in more than one language provides excellent opportunities to develop intercultural understanding and respect. It helps the students to appreciate that his or her own language, culture and worldview is just one of many.
International-mindedness is also encouraged through a focus on global engagement and meaningful service with the community. These elements challenge the student to critically consider power and privilege, and to recognize that he or she holds this planet and its resources in trust for future generations. They also highlight the focus on action in all IB programmes: a focus on moving beyond awareness and understanding to engagement, action and bringing about meaningful change.
The components of an IB education described in this document work together to support the IB’s overarching aim of developing international-mindedness.
The IB Learner Profile
The IB learner profile places the student at the centre of an IB education.
The 10 attributes reflect the holistic nature of an IB education. They highlight the importance of nurturing dispositions such as curiosity and compassion as well as developing knowledge and skills. They also highlight that along with cognitive development, IB programmes are concerned with students’ social, emotional and physical well-being, and with ensuring that students learn to respect themselves, others, and the world around them.
IB educators help students to develop these attributes over the course of their IB education, and to demonstrate them in increasingly robust and sophisticated ways as they mature. The development of these attributes is the foundation of developing internationally minded students who can help to build a better world.
|Inquirers||We nurture our curiosity, developing skills for inquiry and research. We know how to learn independently and with others. We learn with enthusiasm and sustain our love of learning throughout life.|
|Knowledgeable||We develop and use conceptual understanding, exploring knowledge across a range of disciplines. We engage with issues and ideas that have local and global significance.|
|Thinkers||We use critical and creative thinking skills to analyse and take responsible action on complex problems. We exercise initiative in making reasoned, ethical decisions.|
|Communicators||We express ourselves confidently and creatively in more than one language and in many ways. We collaborate effectively, listening carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups.|
|Principled||We act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and justice, and with respect for the dignity and rights of people everywhere. We take responsibility for our actions and their consequences.|
|Open-minded||We critically appreciate our own cultures and personal histories, as well as the values and traditions of others. We seek and evaluate a range of points of view, and we are willing to grow from the experience.|
|Caring||We show empathy, compassion and respect. We have a commitment to service, and we act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and in the world around us.|
|Risk takers||We approach uncertainty with forethought and determination; we work independently and cooperatively to explore new ideas and innovative strategies. We are resourceful and resilient in the face of challenges and change.|