A high quality education is the best gift a parent can give to their children. There are many options for education in Singapore but which is the best for your child? One of the most popular programmes in the world is the International Baccalaureate (IB). Its unique curricula and benefits make it a good programme to enrol your child in.
What is the IB programme?
The International Baccalaureate (IB) is an internationally recognised academic programme and one of the most popular curricula with around 5,600 schools offering it all over the world. The IB system is designed for students from 3 to 18 years old with programmes of different levels, including the Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme and Diploma Programme. These programmes aim to provide students with a comprehensive and holistic education by putting equal emphasis on intellectual, social and personal development.
Primary Years Programme (PYP)
The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) consists of early years (ages 3-6) and Years 1-6 (ages 6-12). Since it is the first and longest period of a child’s education, the PYP is designed to build a strong foundation for independent and holistic learning to support the rest of their journey. Learners are nurtured to practise self-awareness, take ownership of their learning and collaborate with their peers.
The curriculum of the PYP is fluid and adaptive and often made up of a transdisciplinary range of subjects such as Social Studies, Science and Technology, Arts and Personal, Social and Physical Education.
Middle Years Programme (MYP)
The IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) is a five-year programme for learners aged 11 to 16. It builds on the independent learning practices developed in the PYP and focuses on making what is learnt relevant and applicable to the current global context and the child’s own lived experiences.
It encourages interdisciplinary learning by providing a broad range of subjects in its curriculum. In the last year of the programme, learners must complete a long-term project, which will be assessed by their supervising teacher.
Diploma Programme (IBDP)
The IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) is a two-year pre-university programme for students from 16 to 18 years old. It focuses on holistic development in all aspects of life and balances diverse and specialised learning by offering courses from six different subject groups at Higher Level (HL) and Standard Level (SL).
In addition to the six subjects, the IBDP also involves three core components: Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Extended Essay (EE) and Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS). These are not available in other programmes and prepare students for higher education by developing skills like critical analysis, independent research and community service.
Universities value the IB’s commitment to holistic education and IBDP graduates will have an internationally recognised diploma that can be used to apply to universities in over 100 countries. Furthermore, according to IB, IBDP learners are more likely to attend a top 20 UK university and obtain a first class honours degree than their A Levels counterparts.
Who is the IB programme for?
The IB programme is suitable for all individuals between 3 to 18 years old. The IB curriculum does not follow any specific country’s curriculum or content, but rather provides a well-rounded and globally-focused education. For families who often relocate, this is advantageous because the programme is applicable all over the world in various international schools.
What are the benefits of IB?
Besides preparing students for university, there are many other unique benefits of IB:
- Emphasis on holistic development
- Application of academic knowledge to the global context and real-world issues
- International relevance and multilingual teaching
- Cohesive and consistent structure across all levels of IB programmes
Is IB difficult?
While IB requires students to take a wider range of subjects than its counterparts, this promotes interdisciplinary learning that is now highly valued in universities and the workplace.
Though students are urged to be independent in and outside of the classroom, they are not alone in their educational journeys. Their teachers will provide support and guidance throughout the learning process to ensure that they are on the right path with the best resources. Therefore, it is important to choose a good IB school that matches the needs of your child.
IB at Nexus
Nexus is one of the international schools that offer the IB programme in Singapore: the PYP (including early years), MYP and IBDP. Our MYP runs for three years instead of five years, from Year 7 to 9, as our Year 10 and 11 students take the International General Certificate in Secondary Education (IGCSE). Through the IGCSE programme, students will earn qualifications in individual subjects, which will be useful for university applications as an additional externally accessed qualification that shows evidence of their academic performance.
Our learners who graduate from Nexus have gone to study at top universities all over the world like the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of British Columbia and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.