International Baccalaureate: What is it and why is it important for Bangkok parents?
Parents looking for international schools in the Bangkok area will inevitably encounter the option of an ‘IB World School’. What exactly does this mean? Basically, IB or International Baccalaureate is an education system that is recognised around the world. Currently, over one million students in 146 countries are studying under the IB curriculum, ensuring increased adaptability and mobility for students, especially those in transient expat families.
For children aged 3 to 19, the IB is comprised of four programmes: IB Primary Years Programme, IB Middle Years Programme, IB Diploma Programme and the recently introduced IB Career-related Certificate. A school may offer one or more of the four programmes to qualify for the ‘IB World School’ designation.
The IB programme defines “international education” in terms of developing citizens of the world in the context of culture, language and learning to live together. It fosters students’ sense of identity, cultural awareness and values; stimulates curiosity; and encourages individual and group learning across a broad range of subjects. The programme also utilises various forms of assessment and benchmarking metrics.
The following is a breakdown of each programme’s educational principles:
The IB Primary Years Programme, for students aged 3 to 12, centres on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and outside world.
The IB Middle Years Programme, for students aged 11 to 16, offers a framework of academic challenge that encourages students to bridge traditional subjects with the real world, and become critical and reflective thinkers.
The IB Diploma Programme, for students aged 16 to 19, is an academically challenging and diverse programme of education with final examinations; many students graduating from the Diploma Programme find that it enhances their opportunities at tertiary institutions.
The IB Career-related Certificate, also for students aged 16 to 19, is the newest offering that incorporates the IB principles into career-related learning; in Thailand, this option is currently only available at Prem Tinsulanonda International School in Chiang Mai.
At present, there are 20 IB World Schools in Thailand. Seven schools offer the Primary Years Programme, four schools feature the Middle Years Programme and 18 schools provide the Diploma Programme. In the latter, the school conducts primary and secondary classes according to a national curriculum (usually American or British), and offers the IB Diploma Programme for its pre-university students.
Bangkok and its surrounding areas house the following IB World Schools:
Bangkok Patana School (British curriculum and IB Diploma programme)
Concordian International School (IB Primary Years, IB Middle Years and IB Diploma programmes)
International School Bangkok (American curriculum and IB Diploma programme)
KIS International School (IB Primary Years, IB Middle Years and IB Diploma programmes)
Magic Years International Kindergarten (IB Primary Years)
NIST International School (IB Primary Years, IB Middle Years and IB Diploma programmes)
Pan-Asia International School (American curriculum and IB Diploma programme)
Ruamrudee International School (American curriculum and IB Diploma programme)
St. Andrews International School, Sukhumvit 71 and Bangna campuses (British curriculum and IB Diploma programme)
The Regent’s School, Bangkok (British curriculum and IB Diploma programme)
Wells International School, On-nut campus (American curriculum and IB Diploma programme)