The International Baccalaureate (IB) Curriculum & its Programmes

March 16, 2021

Education remains an ever-changing system with various paradigms and philosophies that influence it. With more educators, parents and academic professionals looking for ways to understand how to equip learners with the knowledge that is required to become global citizens, the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum programme has maintained itself as a popular alternative to traditional teaching and learning methods. We discuss what the IB curriculum is below and what it can offer learners across the globe.

What is the International Baccalaureate (IB) Curriculum?

The IB curriculum comprises 4 engaging, relevant and challenging educational programmes that are offered to students aged 3 to 19 years old. Being in existence for over 50 years, the programmes are designed to build problem-solving skills and nurture critical thinking. Its philosophy is so much more than just traditional learning; the IB curriculum is one that encourages diversity, asking the right questions and discovering the answers, having a curious mind, and fostering an appetite for learning.

Founded in 1968 and with an international presence spanning 158 countries, the IB curriculum is innovative and challenging. Learners are encouraged to employ a cross-discipline approach to the way they think and ask questions. The IB curriculum focuses on the holistic development of the child.

What are the 4 IB Curriculum Programmes Available?

The 4 IB curriculum programmes include the Primary Years Programme, the Middle Years Programme, the Diploma Programme, and the Career-related Programme.

About the Primary Years Programme

The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) is designed for learners aged 3 to 12 years old. It is aimed at developing and nurturing young minds to become caring and active participants in a lifelong learning journey. As it is inquiry-based, the PYP follows a student-centred approach to education that is future-focused and a reflection of the most developed educational research. The central principle of agency is at the core of the PYP framework, which consists of the 3 pillars that include:

  • The learner;
  • Learning and teaching; and
  • The learning community.

About the Middle Years Programme

The IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) is aimed at students aged 11 to 16 years old and comprises a challenging framework that encourages learners to draw practical connections between what they are studying and the real world itself. As a 5-year programme, it can be broken up into 2-, 3-, or 4-year formats, or implemented in partnership between schools. The MYP curriculum is made up of 8 subject groups that cater to a diverse yet balanced educational approach for young adolescents. 50 hours of teaching time is required for each subject group within each year of the programme. The last 2 years of the programme are aimed at carefully curated subject group flexibility which enables learners to achieve their personal learning goals and local requirements. Learners who undertake the MYP programme are well-equipped to enter into the IB Diploma Programme or the Career-related Programme.

In grade 9, students have the option of choosing to pursue either the MYP OR IGCSE curriculum. When in Grade 11, they can then pursue the Diploma Programme (DP) A-level or opt for a career-related program.

About the Diploma Programme

Students aged 16 to 19 years old are eligible for the IB Diploma Programme (DP). The DP boasts many benefits for learners and is designed for those who showcase an exceptional depth of knowledge - students who are physically, emotionally, intellectually and ethically advanced. The DP curriculum comprises 6 subject groups as well as the DP core, namely theory of knowledge (ToK), activity, creativity, service (CAS), and the extended essay. The DP core is where learners undergo reflection on the nature of knowledge, conduct independent research, and engage with projects which commonly entail community service. do a project that frequently entails community service.

About the Career-related Programme

Like the Diploma Programme, the IB Career-related Programme (CP) is designed for students aged 16 to 19 years old. As a framework of international education, the CP integrates the IB values into a programme that is aimed at the requirements of learners partaking in career-related education. The CP programme is one that leads to higher education, apprenticeships, internships, or employment itself. Learners in the CP programme are required to choose 2 IB Diploma Programme courses, a career-related study, and a core that comprises 4 components. Where the DP courses add theoretical and academic value for CP students, the career-related study enhances the programme’s academic strength and adds a practical, real-life approach to the learning process. Additional to this, the CP core enhances learners’ ability to develop competencies and skills that are needed for lifelong learning.

As a parent, you have a desire to provide your child with an education that will prepare him or her for the real world. The IB curriculum is ideal for parents and students who are looking for an inquiry-based and student-centred approach to learning, both in and out of the classroom.

Based in Dubai, the Ambassador International Academy is an award-winning school that combines British education standards with the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum programme in order to foster inquisitive students that are prepared for a world of endless opportunities. We are an authorised PYP school. Visit our website to learn more about how we can help to mould your child into a global citizen.


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