ISJ April 2018: A dilemma and an opportunity for the IB@50
Everyone involved in international education owes an enormous debt to the IB. For many who work in an IB programme and who are committed to the IB perspectives on teaching and learning, the ongoing professional experience and its consistent cycle of circumscribed development can create an all-encompassing mindset that identifies so completely with international schooling that it can be hard to imagine that there exists a galaxy of international education entirely outside of the IB world. The truth is somewhat different. While the IB proudly claims (in 2017) that there are over 4000 IB World Schools, this includes a significant number that operate in national contexts and which do not fit the criteria for being considered ‘international’ as defined in some quarters. For instance, the ISC Research data for the same year accounted only 1448 IBDP schools in its overall census of 8486 international schools, and even if we include the IBPYP and IBMYP programmes the total number for IB falls substantially below the 3326 schools which identify with the UK curriculum. The IBMYP, in particular, has struggled to make an impact in the 11-16 sector and for ISC there are only 520 MYP schools as compared with 2124 which work with IGCSE. Yet these figures are only one part of the story. Everyone involved in international education owes an enormous debt to the IB.