Growth in technology has shrunk the world and changed the way humans interact with each other. The last two decades have seen a multitude of transformations in terms of career choices and opportunities.
As a result, there has been significant change in cultural beliefs and ideologies within societies.
Parents are making conscious decisions that empower their child to get the best out of their learning engagements. With the internet and other derived technologies, children have access to infinite repositories of resources, unlike the past. The ease of access and the volume of these resources is bound to improve further. Therefore, it is beyond doubt that the ways in which children are taught to consume this information also needs to evolve accordingly.
Children will have to be taught ‘how’ to learn rather than ‘what’ to learn. Learning methodologies must change from the widely existent ‘rote learning’ which demands memorizing of information on a loop to a more relevant ‘inquiry-based learning’.
When children are taught ‘how’ to learn, they get a thorough understanding about the nature and depth of knowledge that they can look forward to in any subject. This helps them become more curious and delve deeper into their areas of interest and have a clear vision of how to apply their knowledge in practice. Modern parents are fully aware of this current need for a shift in learning methodology and are making conscious decisions while choosing a curriculum for their children. Because of this change in preference, the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum has been gaining a lot of traction in recent years.
It is one of the fastest growing educational programmes at a global level and in India itself, the IB programme has seen a growth of 39.3% in the last 5 years. IB schools are especially thriving in the international school sector in India. There are 176 IB World Schools in India, with large concentrations in metropolitan cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai. The first IB school in India was established in 1976. IB is recognized by 274 universities across India and has a network of over 5000 schools worldwide.
The IB curriculum has always been an advocate of ‘inquiry-based learning’ and has been designed to transform the children become inquisitive.
The structure of the curriculum is divided into three parts, that is three educational programs, based on the age of the students. The programmes are:
- The Primary Years Program for students between kindergarten to class 5
- The Middle Years Program for students between Class 6 to Class 10
- The Diploma Program for students between Class 11 and Class 12
The learner profile of the IB curriculum embodies the attributes that are valued by the pedagogy and enables the children to become enduring learners by developing qualities essential to emphasize on the 21st century pluralism.
Unlike other teaching methodologies, IB empowers the learners to pursue their own learning process and also encourages them to try different approaches. This allows the students to take responsibility for their own learning and also helps them reflect on their learning progress. When the children are given control to make choices for themselves, they become more devoted and happy throughout the learning process. Additionally, with a deeper understanding of their knowledge and individual self, children develop strong academic, emotional and cultural characteristics.
In a nutshell, the IB curriculum does not promote a forceful memorization of subjects; it does not encourage rote learning or following coercive textbook information, but rather promotes conceptual learning simulated in classrooms. In fact, students are given free access to course materials and learning resources to build on in-class learning. Additionally, there are no examinations for students till the Middle Years Program which tests students’ knowledge, but not their memory and speed thereby enabling students to carefully illustrate their expertise. These examinations are designed to maximize understanding of the course materials.
IB Diploma gives students easier access to the top colleges and institutes around the world due to its reputation for rigorous assessment. Although IB curriculum refuses to fit into the Indian framework of educational policies, IB enables the development of analytical, logical reasoning and language skills that can later help students clear exams such as GRE and SAT. It has become the most suitable program for Indian students who are preparing for higher education in globally esteemed institutes based on their IB scores.
With the dynamics of society changing quickly, the learning methodology chosen today must have a design that enables the learners not just to solve contemporary problems, but also to adapt themselves for the future. The IB programmes envision the preparation for future success and it is a good sign that today’s parents are starting to acknowledge it.