Are your kids starting to think about whether to take A Levels or the International Baccalaureate? If you feel a little in the dark about the IB, fear not as Colin Irvine, Director of the IBDP at Bradfield College sheds light on the key points, to help you make an informed decision. He outlines how the IB offers pupils the chance to differentiate themselves from the competition and prepares them for the future.
Encourages academic inquiry and intellectual culture to combine
On the face of it the IB Diploma looks like more subjects; six rather than the three typically followed by A Level candidates. However, there is far more to it than that. Embracing the qualification means continuing a breadth of study across Maths, Literature, Languages, Science, Humanities and the Arts, whilst encouraging pupils to explore greater depth in their chosen Higher Level subjects.
The curriculum is bound together by the excellent Theory of Knowledge, an examination of how academic inquiry and intellectual culture combine to acquire and validate knowledge, something which an explosive blend of populism and social media has propelled to a position of critical importance.
A chance to differentiate themselves from the competition
The working landscape is shifting. Recruiters increasingly use contextual data to filter out candidates whose CVs have been inflated by privilege rather than ability. They care about what applicants did during their education and whether those experiences have equipped them to tackle global problems and the difficult questions that will define this next chapter of human history. It is vital that pupils fully embrace and participate in the emergent system.
“The IB is one of those opportunities; a chance for pupils to differentiate themselves from the competition, to look upwards and outwards as global citizens.”
Designed and continuously adapted by educators across 157 countries, the Diploma presents the pupil with an internationally acclaimed pre-university programme of skill development and champions an approach to learning that is aligned with the needs of the global economy.
Promotes problem solving skills and global collaboration
In mere months we have transitioned to learn and work virtually and across vast distances which presents opportunities as well as threats. Artificial Intelligence, big tech and big data are rewriting the rules of business, disrupting traditional white-collar roles. This pandemic has illustrated that the world needs problem solvers who can collaborate across both international borders and academic disciplines. If our kids can do that, they will thrive.
How do we prevent the next pandemic? How can we prevent the impact of climate change? How do we deal with the impending mass unemployment of technological advance? How do we improve our mental health? How do we sustain an ageing population? How can social media be harnessed to maximise societal benefit? What will succeed capitalism?
To win a place in these conversations, our kids will need a powerful work ethic and an open mind. They may need to jump between time zones, languages, quantitative and qualitative sources. They will have to think scientifically, but also communicate, challenge ideas and have their own ideas challenged. The global fight against the pandemic needs people like this and it is this group, undefined by background, location, colour or creed, that will emerge as the heroes of this darkest of hours.
To sum it all up
The IB Diploma is a tremendous opportunity for young people to join a group of global game-changers. 2020 will be recorded as momentous not because of the pandemic but because of what the pandemic has revealed about our future; uncertain yes, exciting undoubtedly. It is a chance for this generation to leave a legacy of global significance.