Celebrating Nine Years of the IB Program in SD73

Posted On Wednesday January 06, 2021

By Meghan Wade, Vice-Chair Board of Education

January 5, 2021

Initially launched in 1968 in a dozen international cities, the International Baccalaureate (IB) program is an educational curriculum that now exists in over four thousand schools around the globe and consists of approximately 1.25 million students from the ages of three to nineteen. The program is lauded for its varied approaches to lifelong learning, service activities and global mindedness. IB schools encourage students to develop intellectual, social, and personal traits that can be applied to the world outside the classroom. A typical IB learner is encouraged to develop creativity, critical awareness, problem-solving and compassion, so that they may better address the challenges of the 21st century and beyond.

IB emerged when teacher-centred, top-down lectures, IQ testing, and rote memorization were  the norm. At this time, the creators of the IB program believed that students were often merely passive receptacles, expected to absorb the lessons of their teachers without question or input. The founders of IB maintained that this top-down approach to education was both inefficient and uninspiring, and that there had to be a more effective model. As a result of this conviction, the educators responsible for the creation of the IB advocated for a globally minded education, based on student centered learning and interactive classrooms.  These assertions are now also embedded in the current BC curriculum.

In addition to the usual subjects found in most educational programs, IB contains several other opportunities to better facilitate a more profound awareness of “big ideas.” The IB Learner Profile provides ten key attributes that the program aims to foster and develop in students.  These attributes assist in creating a learning environment where learners can better comprehend connections between big ideas, examine concepts from various perspectives and reflect in a manner that contributes to their overall growth.         

As 2021 begins, IB schools will be preparing graduating students for the IB subject exams scheduled for May.  These rigorous exams are an excellent preparation for the demands of post-secondary education.  IB graduates, due to program demands, predominately believe it has made the transition to university relatively smooth. Also, students who do well in specific IB courses, are often able to use that course as a first-year university credit and may automatically enter a second-year course in the same discipline. Some past IB graduates claim that the education they received in the two-year IB program was more comprehensive than some of the first-year university courses they participated in.

SD73 IB grads have received early admission and entrance scholarships to such prestigious institutions as: UBC, Queens, McGill, Waterloo and U of T to name but a few.  SD73 IB alumni have ventured into such professions as: medicine, law, engineering, veterinary medicine, nursing, education, and a myriad of other exciting careers.

The International Baccalaureate program has earned enormous success and accolades around the world, and this success is readily apparent among our IB alumni.  As the world embarks upon a new year, one can afford some optimism in that there is a growing population of articulate, lateral-thinking, internationally minded, creative leaders ready to confidently face the challenges of this 21st century. These talented stewards of tomorrow are in no small part a result of the pedagogical aspirations of the IB program. Congratulations to the SD73 IB cohorts of past and present, and all the very best to the cohorts yet to come.

SD73’s IB program is one of several programs of choice available in the District, offered to meet the diverse interests and talents of our students. Please check our website for more information and registration dates. Much appreciation to IB teacher, Trevor Pendergast for his assistance. Contact mwade@sd73.bc.ca.

This column appeared in Kamloops This Week: View from SD73 on January 5, 2021.

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