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The International Baccalaureate: Education for the 21st Century

The International Baccalaureate is a not-for-profit educational program designed to encourage young minds to be both inquisitive and respectful while gaining a greater knowledge of different cultures around the world. It was founded in 1968 in Geneva, Switzerland and since, many countries have adopted its programs. Canadian private schools have been a major contributor to the International Baccalaureate since 1974. Of the 2000 worldwide private schools that offer the program, 250 reside in Canada. We are second only to the United States among countries who have schools that offer the diverse curriculum.

The International Baccalaureate Program contains a student profile which outlines traits individuals must exude in order to be considered for the course. Students must be Inquisitive, Knowledgeable, communicative, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-taking, balanced and also reflective.

Within the International Baccalaureate Framework there are four programs designed to target different ages and interests.

    • The Diploma Program is for the ages of 16-19. The focused subject areas are language and literature, language acquisition, individuals and societies, sciences and mathematics.
    • The Career-related Program is also for ages 16-19. This program blends the ideals of the International Baccalaureate into career-focused education.
    • The Middle Years Program is for ages 11-16. The goal of this area of the International Baccalaureate is for students to draw conclusions between their schoolwork and the world at large. This program concentrates on six global contexts; identities and relationship, personal and cultural identity, orientations in space and time, scientific and technical innovation, fairness and development and globalization and sustainability.
    • The final entity of the International Baccalaureate endeavor is called the Primary Years Program. This is for students between the ages of 3 and 12. This program encourages students to become active, caring and lifelong learners. The primary focus is based on six trans-disciplinary themes; who we are, where we are in place and time, how we express ourselves, how the world works, how we organize ourselves, and sharing the planet.

The International Baccalaureate Program is one of the most widely used university entrance programs in the world. Around half of the schools are publicly funded while the other are privately functioned. Even some of the courses that are part of the International Baccalaureate program are considered to be first year university equivalent and credits in the United States and Canada can be awarded as such.

The International Baccalaureate Program has proven successful in fast-tracking young minds to be able to think critically about themselves and the world around them. This 20th-century view of education is invaluable both on a personal and global front as we continue to encourage our students in their pursuit of knowledge.

Find schools in Canada offering the International Baccalaureate with ParentsCanada’s Private School Guide.

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