What is the International Baccalaureate?

The IB at a glance

What makes the IB unique?

The IB offers a continuum of high-quality education that encourages international-mindedness and a positive attitude to learning. Our programmes are accessible to students in 125 countries through our close cooperation with the worldwide community of IB World Schools.

The IB is unique:

We offer a continuum of education, consisting of three individual programmes. We span the years from kindergarten to a pre-university diploma. While we are traditionally known for the Diploma Programme, IB World Schools increasingly offer all three programmes.

We are proud of our reputation for high-quality education sustained for over 35 years. Our curriculum represents the best from many different countries rather than the exported national system of any one. Our challenging Diploma Programme assessment is recognized by the world’s leading universities. We maintain our high standards by actively training and supporting teachers, and by authorizing and evaluating IB World Schools.

We encourage international-mindedness in IB students. To do this, we believe that students must first develop an understanding of their own cultural and national identity. All IB students learn a second language and the skills to live and work with others internationally—essential for life in the 21st century.

We encourage a positive attitude to learning by encouraging students to ask challenging questions, to critically reflect, to develop research skills, and to learn how to learn. We encourage community service because we believe that there is more to learning than academic studies alone.

We ensure that our programmes are accessible to students in a wide variety of schools—national, international, public and private—in 125 countries. These IB World Schools form a worldwide community in which there is no such thing as a “typical” school (more than 50% of IB students are in state-funded schools). IB World Schools cooperate in curriculum development, student assessment and the governance of the IB, making this a unique international collaboration:


What is in the curriculum?
The curriculum contains six subject groups together with a core made up of three separate parts.

Students study six subjects selected from each of the 6 subject groups(Group 1:Language; Group 2:Second language; Group 3:Individuals and Societies; Group 4:Experimental Sciences; Group 5:Mathematics and Computer Science; Group 6:The Arts). Normally three subjects are studied at higher level (courses representing 240 teaching hours), and the remaining three subjects are studied at standard level (courses representing 150 teaching hours).

All three parts of the core—extended essay, theory of knowledge and creativity, action, service—are compulsory and are central to the philosophy of the Diploma Programme.

Diploma Programme at a glance
What are the three core requirements?

The three core requirements are:

extended essay

theory of knowledge

creativity, action, service.

All Diploma Programme students must engage in these three activities.

Extended essay
The extended essay has a prescribed limit of 4,000 words. It offers the opportunity to investigate a topic of individual interest, and acquaints students with the independent research and writing skills expected at university.

Theory of knowledge (TOK)
The interdisciplinary TOK course is designed to provide coherence by exploring the nature of knowledge across disciplines, encouraging an appreciation of other cultural perspectives.

Creativity, action, service (CAS)
Participation in the school’s CAS programme encourages students to be involved in artistic pursuits, sports and community service work, thus fostering students’ awareness and appreciation of life outside the academic arena.

What does the IB Diploma program consist of(8 slides):

The Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa, Kenya; Diploma program

The Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa, Kenya; Primary years program

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Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, its achievements and humanitarian works.

One thought

  1. The International Baccalaureate(IB) Diploma is a formidable high school qualification. Many people in this program who scored 5 or higher out of a possible 7 on their exam were able to get advanced standing for courses in their first year at a Canadian University. A few students with very high IB grades in all 6 subjetcs skipped the entire first year of University and went straight into second year.

    Most students who go through the IB program at high school find the first year of University to be very easy. One other advantage of the IB program for North American students is that a good overall IB grade can allow you to go straight from high school into professional programs like Law, Medicine and Dentistry at British and European Universities as opposed to having to first do an undergraduate degree in North America and then apply to the North American professional schools.


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