As an international school leader, I am asked this question from time to time by parents, students, and other educators. If you spend more than five minutes with me, you will probably gather that I am a huge believer in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programmes and will most likely talk about why I have found, after living and working in 4 different regions of the world, that the IB is the global standard of international education. I am excited to share my top 3 reasons for why the IB is the best choice for learning.
1. The IB is driven by its mission, to create a better world through education.
The IB is a community with a shared mission to empower young people with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to create a better and more peaceful world. The organization is driven by the understanding that the students we serve today, will be the leaders of tomorrow. They recognize that if young people are going to be successful with tackling global challenges, we need to provide an education where students develop an internationally minded understanding of people and cultures. The IB also recognises that in a world where ideas and information can be easily exchanged, accessed, and discussed among different nations with a few strokes from a keyboard or handheld device, that an innovative approach to learning is needed. The IB works with multiple partners and organizations, such as Harvard's Graduate School of Education: Project Zero, to ensure they are able to offer the best, holistic programme that promotes international mindedness.
2. The IB is a continuum of internationally minded learning.
The IB was one of the first to identify the role and importance of international schooling. As I mentioned above, our shifting world needs an educational framework that prepares students to work and live as internationally minded citizens. 50 years ago, the IB responded to this developing concern and offered its first programme, the Diploma Programme, which serves students in their final two years of school. As the world grew smaller and more connected due to the growth of the global economy and migration trends, the IB realized a greater need and added programs and approaches to better serve students of all ages. They realized that the journey to international minded citizenship starts at the beginning. The IB is unique because they offer a continuum of international education that starts when students first enter school, as early as the age of 3. Today, the IB offers 4 differentiated programs which leads students to excel in academic and personal achievement. One of my favorite quotes of all time was when I spoke to a parent who joined our MYP school from a national system and she shared with me, “I’m not sure exactly what or why the MYP is different from our schools before, but all I know is that my son is a different person now -a better, kinder person- because of what he has to think and write about now as an MYP student.”
3. The IB is strengthened by a strong knowledge community.
One of the most incredible privileges I have felt as IB leader is being a part of a strong community of educators that are also motivated by a common belief that this kind of education can help to build a better world. When you are a part of the IB community, you are joined by over 5,000 schools in over 150 countries (see more about IB statistics here). The IB is passionate about meeting the diverse needs of international communities. To ensure all stakeholders needs’ are met, the IB has a very inclusive review process of its programmes and subjects which involves multiple experiences and viewpoints from educators, researchers, and students from all over the world. The IB is motivated by ensuring that they are delivering the best possible education for students and are constantly sharpening their vision and their services by the feedback they receive from their community worldwide.