International Baccalaureate Schools – What are the advantages of an IB education?
When choosing what kind of education your child will be getting, there are many considerations to make that will affect how they learn, how they perform, and even the kind of educational future they can look forward to. Making such a decision, you need to be informed as to the quality of the school to which you’re going to send your child, and the curriculum that they’ve adopted.
In this article, we take a look at the advantages of the International Baccalaureate system, and how it stacks up against more traditional frameworks such as the British GCE A Level system.
Advantages of the IB
The first and most obvious advantage of the International Baccalaureate is right there in the name – “International over the world, in over 4,000 schools.
IB students are set to be well-prepared for a future in an increasingly globalized world. This is notable across all aspects of the curriculum. In the International Baccalaureate’s Primary Years Programme (PYP), taught from ages 3-12 years, content in the curriculum is divided into “Units of Inquiry,” which are driven by a Central Idea that engages with real-world issues. This approach develops not only critical thinking and analytical skills, but also a better knowledge and appreciation of world affairs.
Meanwhile, for comparison, the British GCE A Level system was developed for England and is also used by certain Commonwealth countries. It presents a more focused, UK-centric approach to education. Students taking the A Levels will find a more focused curriculum, outlined by taking “Advanced Levels” in each subject for which they desire qualifications. A Levels are typically found to provide more knowledge content than the IB, and feature lots of textbook-oriented learning centered on memorization and examinations. In addition, examinations are administered and graded by external bodies, rather than within the school, which is associated with greater trust of results.
As the A Levels are British-focused, they don’t provide as much of a global outlook as the IB. And even though the IB arguably provides less “knowledge” over the course of an education, it works better with providing students with the faculties for critical thinking and independent inquiry. Furthermore, the value of memorization, textbook-based learning has been questionable as of late, with formulas, dates, historic events and the like easily searchable on Google.
In addition, the two-year International Baccalaureate Degree Program is recognized by thousands of schools across dozens of countries around the world, in contrast to the A Levels that might only be accepted within a country whose universities recognizes them, or only at specific universities around the world. And for students who move around a lot from region to region, the IB program at all levels is flexible enough to support moving and continuation of classes between different IB schools.
Another advantage is that the IB DP program fosters a more open-minded and well-rounded student, through a broad education spread out across six subject groups, as well as a course on the theory of knowledge, a 4000-word essay, and a “Creativity, Activity, or Service” project that has students engage in real tasks outside the classroom. Similarly, the other programs for younger students include a variety of areas of study, as well as a collaborative nature of study, and an objective for students to become internationally-minded.
A great IB school in the region
Having a solid curriculum isn’t the be-all and end-all of education; it must be paired with a quality school to have the maximum effect on students. At Swiss International School Dubai, we offer the full International Baccalaureate curriculum for ages 3-18, in 2 bilingual English/French or English/German stream, or the English program with additional languages. We provide top-of-the-line facilities for extracurricular activities as well, and feature a diverse multicultural staff who will nurture students in a boarding school held to the highest levels of pastoral care that they’ll see as a second home, preparing them for an international future.