What is the International Baccalaureate Program?

EDM LogoIf you are researching schools for your child, you may have come across the term IB or International Baccalaureate and wondered about this curriculum. The following is an article adapted from Education Destination Malaysia that explains the IB programs (read the full article).

What are the IB Programs?

The IB programs were created to offer high-quality and challenging educational programs for a worldwide community of schools. Their aim is to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. They 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 IB identified a continuum of international education for students aged 3 to 19:

  • The IB Diploma Program (DP) was established in 1968 to provide a challenging and comprehensive educational platform that would enable students to understand and manage the complexities of the modern world and provide them with skills and attitudes for taking responsible action for the future. It is rooted in the belief that people who are equipped to make a more just and peaceful world need an education that crosses disciplinary, cultural, national and geographical boundaries.
  • The Middle Years Program (MYP) and the Primary Years Program (PYP) were established in 1994 and in 1997, respectively.

Teaching and Learning in the IB 

An IB education centers on learners, develops effective approaches to teaching and learning, works within global contexts and explores significant content. It is holistic in nature and is concerned with the development of the whole person. IB programs are focussed on:

  • learning how to learn
  • helping students interact effectively with the learning environments they encounter
  • encouraging students to value learning as an essential and integral part of their everyday lives

An IB education prepares young people for a lifetime of learning, independently and in collaboration with others through the interplay of asking, doing and thinking, thereby leading towards an open, democratic classroom. It encourages a community of learners to engage with global challenges through inquiry, action and reflection. IB programs aim to develop a range of competencies and dispositions that include skills for thinking, for working with others, for communicating, for self-management and for research.

IB learner profile


In IB programs, assessment is ongoing, varied and integral to the curriculum. Assessment may be formal or informal, formative or summative, internal or external; students also benefit by learning how to assess their own work and the work of others.

IB students demonstrate what they know and can do through presentation via exhibition, personal project, extended essay and reflective project.

Why IB? 

An IB education is unique because of its rigorous academic and personal standards. IB programs challenge students to excel not only in their studies, but also in their personal growth. The IB aims to inspire a lifelong quest for learning hallmarked by enthusiasm and empathy. Strengthened by the belief that education can help to build a better world, the IB connects this higher purpose with the practical details of teaching and learning.

An IB education represents a testament to the power of this collaboration. An IB education calls forth the very best in students and educators alike. An IB education helps to prepare students for living and working in a complex, highly interconnected world.

Read the full article from Education Destination Malaysia.

How Effective is an IB Education?

“IB students were better prepared for the shock of college academic demands and suffered less of a drop in grade point average in their first year of college compared to their high school performance level.” – Center for College Readiness

More research and information:

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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