Understanding International Baccalaureate (IB)

Published: Thursday, February 5, 2015
SIRVA Communications

Founded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate® (IB) is a non-profit educational foundation offering highly respected programs of international education which aims to teach their students to:

  • explore what it is to learn
  • ask challenging and thoughtful questions
  • develop a sense of identity and culture
  • develop the ability to communicate with people from different countries and cultures
  • develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills needed to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world.

Currently there are 3,968 schools worldwide offering the IB Diploma Program and in recent times, we are seeing a trend of more international schools in Asia offering IB as well. It is now being offered in over 600 schools in 28 countries in the Asia Pacific.

One of the frequently-asked-questions our Education Consultants received was whether assignees should include IB as one of the criteria in their school search for their children while on assignment.

Some facts about IB:

  • It offers four educational programmes for children aged 3–19


    • Primary Years Programme (PYP) for children aged approximately 3 – 12
    • Middle Years Programme (MYP) for children aged approximately 11 – 16
    • International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) for students aged approximately 16 – 19.
    • International Baccalaureate Career Certificate (IBCC) - This is the newest offering from IB is the Career-related Programme (formerly IB Career-related Certificate) and is designed for students of ages 16 to 19 who want to engage in career-related learning.

Most international schools offering other curriculums have also introduced International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) as another option for the final two years of study. IBDP is an internationally recognized pre-university curriculum followed by students around the world. It offers a challenging and well-rounded programme of education for 16-19-year-old students (year 12 and 13 students or year 11 and 12 in some schools).

The IB offers a broader programme of study than “A” levels and is more rewarding as it encourage students to think independently, and to explore their creativity. One major difference is that students must take six subjects over two years in the major academic areas (native language, second language, individuals and societies, experimental sciences, mathematics and computer sciences, and the arts) whereas most “A” levels students may only take four subjects  during their first year and subsequently dropping one in their second year in order to keep their options open about what subjects to study as a full  “A” level in their final year.

The IB Diploma is no doubt very well-respected by universities however it might not be for everyone. During the school search process, our Consultants will give the various options available so that your assignee can select a school which offers the program best for their child.

Find out more on the International Baccalaureate Organisation website.