A Comprehensive Guide to the International Baccalaureate

Yesterday we took a look at some of the fees you can expect to encounter when educating your child in a private international school. If you missed it you can find the article here: The price you can expect to pay for expatriate education.

Today we’re taking a look at one of the best programs available for expatriates who want to provide their children with an education that is recognized throughout the world: The International Baccalaureate.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a global international pre-university educational curriculum that has achieved worldwide recognition. The qualification has been gaining in popularity over the past few years because it offers students an ability to acquire the curricular knowledge that they need to access higher educational facilities throughout the world while also arming them with some of the ‘soft’ skills that are required to be successful in life, including communication skills, decision making skills, team working and leadership.

The IB offers three different programs that cover children from the age of three through to the age of 19. Each program is carefully planned, implemented and assessed in order to ensure that children gain the intellectual, emotion and personal skills that they need to be successful in life. Because it is recognized throughout the world, it is often the program of choice for expatriates, who appreciate the program because it offers a standard of education that is recognized throughout the world. It is especially useful for families who relocate on a regular basis because it ensures that there will be as little interruption as possible on the continuity of an expat child’s education.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP)

Once children reach the age of 16 they can participate in the IB program for children aged between 16 and 19, which is taught in English, French or Spanish. It is recognized as a valid and high quality program by university establishments throughout the world and it therefore offers expat children a great means of getting the level of education they will need to gain a place at a university of their choice.

In order to gain admission to the IBDP, students must have attended an IB school.

During the course students study six subjects that they select from a list of suitable subject groups. This selection must include one foreign language, maths and science. IN addition to this there are three core requirements that must be met:

  • Completion of an extended essay. Students must perform independent research on one of the approved subjects and write about their findings in a 4,000-word essay.
  • Theory of knowledge. In this course students learn about theories pertaining to knowledge and learning and explore the meaning and validity of knowledge. This core requirement involves 100 hours of class tuition, the completion of a 1200-1600 word essay and a presentation on a candidate’s chosen topic.
  • Creativity, action, service (CAS). CAS is an IBDP core subject that involves studying some of the softer areas related to personal development. It covers subjects such as personal growth, personal reflection and self-awareness. These skills are developed via participation in social and community work, sports activities or creative tasks. Students are encouraged to complete 2-4 hours of CAS activities per week.

For details of international baccalaureate schools and the international baccalaureate diploma program in expat destinations throughout the world see our expat destination guides. They contain comprehensive listings of educational establishments that offer recognized IB and IBDP education, together with information about expected fees and entry requirements in cities throughout the world.

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