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The International Baccalaureate

Introduction to the IB Curriculum

A Better World Through Education

The first of two documentary-style films explores how IB programmes and educators have been developing knowledgeable, caring individuals looking to create a better, more peaceful world for 50 years.


The International Baccalaureate has already educated over 1 million students since it was founded about 50 years ago, earning a reputation for quality education, high standards, consistent and rigorous assessment, and leadership in international education. It synthesises the best research and practice from a range of national systems with the wealth of knowledge and experience in international schools. The IB’s programmes for students aged 3 to 19 help develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalising world. At present there are a further 1 million IB students at approximately 4000 schools in 144 countries studying the PYP, MYP and Diploma programmes.

The IB Mission Statement

The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.
These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

The IB programmes are the Primary Years Programme (PYP, 3-11 years of age), Middle Years Programme (MYP, 11-16 years)) and Diploma Programme (DP, 16-19 years). We believe that these three IB programmes are more challenging for young people than traditional models. Yet we see students emotionally engaged with their learning as they see how it relates to their own lives and those of others. Learning is life and life is learning! It goes without saying that happy children learn more.
The IB ensures that there is consistency in all schools offering the IB programmes. This is important since there is always a likelihood that students will enter and leave the programmes at several different points, whether because they are making the natural progression through schools in their own country, or because their families are internationally mobile. The features that form the basis of the three programmes include:

The features that form the basis of the three programmes include:
• the emphasis on inquiry, reflection and academic rigour.
• the broad nature of study, including more than one language
• the flexibility of each programme’s curriculum model, enabling teachers to respond to local requirements and interests
• the diversity and flexibility of pedagogical approaches.
• the education of the whole person; they emphasize intellectual, personal, emotional, and social growth.
• the emphasis on local and global issues, and events.

Note that students can enter the PYP, MYP and Diploma programmes from other educational systems anywhere in the world. Students can also move from PYP and MYP to other programmes.

UWC East Africa and the IB

“ In 1977, International School Moshi (as we were then known) became the first school in Africa to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP). It was only the 32nd school in the entire world to do so…..Less than three years after it began offering the IB Diploma Programme, the International School Moshi would pay a pivotal role in establishing the Middle Years Programme (MYP).”

[Reference Kearney, Adrian (2012), Regional Director of the IB, Welcome Address at the IB Symposium , Accra, Ghana]

The IB granted UWC East Africa authorization to teach the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP) in May 2007.

UWC East Africa and the MYP

This school instrumental in the future development of the MYP worldwide during the early 1980s, and we are proud of this historical legacy with the IB.
One of the great advantages that the IB has recognized and benefited from since its inception, has been the creative professionalism of its teachers. Innovative and committed teachers of IB programmes, including many at UWC East Africa, from many different cultures, have played a very significant role in the development of each programme and they have clearly believed in a style of teaching that not only stimulates curiosity, inquiry, reflection and critical thinking, but also promotes the development of empathy. Some of UWC East Africa’s teachers, past and present, are IB subject trainers, examiners, programme trainers, trained members of IB authorization teams and IB consultants.