An Introduction to the International Baccalaureate
Founded in Switzerland in 1968 as a non-profit educational foundation, the International Baccalaureate (IB) does not merely promote a curriculum, but rather a mission to transform the world through education. Nearly 4,000 schools in almost 150 countries offer one or more of the IB programmes, a number that climbs each year as it continues to redefine our conception of modern learning. NIST was the the first full IB school in Bangkok, and others have increasingly begun to offer it.
The IB encompasses three programmes—the Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme and Diploma Programme—that provide a progressive, international education to children from three to nineteen years old. Independent of any one nation, it promotes intercultural understanding and dialogue, and fosters compassion in youth, driving them to be lifelong learners. With its rigorous learning standards and focus on community engagement, the IB principles parallel NIST’s own mission and vision.
The IB Learner Profile
The IB mission and principles are made tangible through the learner profile, which identifies traits that all learners should strive to develop. As envisioned by the IB, this profile “describes a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond academic success“. IB learners are:
What Makes the IB Approach Unique?
While many differences can be found between the IB and other curricula, four key elements woven through the PYP, MYP and DP make the IB unique compared to national education systems across all school subject areas:
An International Focus
Unlike every national curriculum, the IB is not tied to any one country. As a truly international programme based in research, it pulls in best practices from all systems and all the schools within its global network. This evidence-based approach means an IB diploma will be accepted by almost all universities worldwide.
A Belief in Multilingualism
In many countries students only experience a second language upon reaching middle or high school. The IB is committed to developing multilingualism from a young age. This reflects a strong belief that the ability to communicate and collaborate with others is essential in a continually evolving, globalized world.
Inquiry & Critical Thinking
The image many people have of a classroom includes students in rows of desks, with the teacher lecturing at the front of the room. The IB overturns this outdated model, encouraging children to be active, curious learners who question assumptions and reflect on their learning, teaching them to learn how to learn.
The IB approach strongly ties to real-world contexts. Students grow to understand how their learning reflects our experiences outside the classroom. This helps them to develop an appreciation for the ways in which communities are connected, and how we can all contribute to solutions at the local and global levels.
The First Full IB School in Bangkok
With NIST’s adoption of the Primary Years Programme in 1999, we became the first full IB school in Bangkok and remain the only one with a not-for-profit status. As the first school in Thailand to offer all IB three programmes, NIST has taken the lead in promoting the IB throughout Southeast Asia, piloting new developments and working with IB staff to continually improve the quality of the programmes.
This relationship is further strengthened through our close, personal relationship with the organization. NIST frequently serves as one of the few schools around the globe to host major IB workshop events, and our teachers are frequently IB presenters and leaders both in Thailand and abroad.