We just moved to Dubai and are overwhelmed by the various school curricula available. Can you tell me about the IB?
Each curriculum has its own merit and there is no single right curriculum. It is an extremely personal choice, unique to every student based on a host of issues, and can be different even between siblings. A lot depends on what your future plans are – what and where do you want to study.
The International Baccalaureate is often considered the epitome of education and the greatest highlight of the programme is its international recognition and acceptance. The IB has three levels, primary, middle and diploma, but it is not uncommon for students to pursue other academic curriculum and only do the final two years (diploma) of IB.
IB is broad based, holistic education and while being academically strong it goes beyond academia to include community service, research and extracurricular activities.
At the diploma level, students take three High Level (HL) and three Standard level (SL) courses, which must include maths, a science, English, and at least one foreign language. While this offers comprehensiveness and breadth of curriculum, it also means that the student will be pursuing more subjects in IB than other curricula.
Apart from this, there are three vital components – theory of knowledge (TOK), a 4,000-word extended essay and 150 hours of CAS (Creativity, Action and Service), which separates the IB from all other curricula. One important point to note is that the TOK and the extended essay involve large amounts of time spent on research and working on a wide range of subjects.
As far as university admissions are concerned, though IB is viewed favourably as one of the most demanding, comprehensive curricula globally, it does not drastically impact the assessment of an applicant. Of course, good grades in IB will facilitate admission into the top universities in the world.