On this page:
- IB schools around the world and in Poland
- Why it’s worth doing the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme: a summary
The two-year diploma programme was developed by the International Baccalaureate (IB) organization as a universal model of international education. It combines the goals and program requirements for the upper high school years in the most developed countries of the world with unique pedagogies, educational requirements, and overall goals. For instance, one goal of the IBDP is to educate citizens of the world in the 21st century, who are able to thrive professionally and socially in any country, and make social contributions.
Currently, the IBDP is offered in more than 5100 schools around the world. It’s subject to strict certification by the IB organization, which ensures schools provide the same level of education regardless of where they’re located. What’s more, IBDP—like the other IB programmes (e.g., Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP))—continues to improve due to regular audits and assessments.
The IB programmes focus on the students' understanding of the content and not on memory learning. During the two years of the IBDP, students solve research problems, perform experiments, and carry out projects related to the material they learn.
At the same time, they focus on learning selected subjects from six subject groups: three in the extended group and three in the basic group. Students also perform tasks assigned related to the remaining elements of the programme, e.g., TOK (Theory of Knowledge), CAS personal development program (Creativity, Action, Service), and research work EE (Extended Essay).
This enables students to use acquired knowledge, put forward research theses, conduct research, and draw conclusions from it. At the same time, they can work in a team and alone, as well as perform in public, present their arguments, and defend them.
In IBDP schools in Poland, the language of instruction is almost exclusively English. This means graduates of these schools have an open path to almost any university in the world, including the most renowned ones, such as Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, the Sorbonne, as well as the University of Warsaw, the Warsaw School of Economics, and the Jagiellonian University.
IB schools around the world and in Poland
According to IB data, there are currently 3352 schools offering International Baccalaureate programs in 156 countries around the world. More than half of them are located on American continents, especially in the USA, and the others are in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
In Poland (data from July 2019), at least one IB programme is offered in 52 schools, which is quite impressive considering that it was only after the political transformation in 1989 that Poland opened up to Western education, which made the international education of Polish and foreign children desirable.
At that time, private schools returned to the education system, and schools began to offer education in line with the highest world standards. For comparison, there are only 18 schools offering the IBDP in France. In Spain, comparable with the size of Poland, there are 123 high schools with the IBDP, except that in most of them learning is in Spanish, while in Poland learning is in English. In addition, in Spain, the IB programme began to be implemented as early as 1977.
Currently, one of the best-known Polish schools with the IBDP program is the European College in Krakow, which in the ranking of effectiveness of IB schools conducting international high school final exams, won first place in Europe, beating 88 other private IB schools that decided to reveal the results of exams and costs of education. The average grade from the final exams obtained by the graduates of the Krakow College was 32 points (out of 45 possible), with annual tuition of less than 17,200 PLN.
Krakow is the second easiest city in Poland to find a private school with an IBDP programme, because, apart from public schools, there are four private high schools with IBDP. Warsaw ranks first in this respect, with as many as eight private schools offering the IBDP.
Schools that enjoy great popularity and reputation include The British School Warsaw, whose students obtained 36 points on average, out of 45 possible, which places it at the forefront of the IB schools in this ranking. The high educational effect achieved by this school is also evidenced by the data provided to us, which shows that about 20% of high school graduates achieve a score above 40 points. And only 7% of IB high school graduates in the world can boast such a result.
There is also Monnet International School (MIS) in Warsaw, which offers education to children from kindergarten to high school offering the full range of IB programs: PYP, MYP, and DP. According to Hanna Piskorska, the director and co-founder of MIS, ensuring children’s continuity of education in line with the methodological assumptions of the IB gives excellent educational results. It also prevents problems with adapting to a different way of working, which at the beginning of education can happen to even the most talented students who go to the IBDP from other institutions.
In IB schools, children are eager to work and are strongly engaged. They’re not afraid that when they ask a strange question or make a mistake, they’ll be criticized by the teacher or in the eyes of their peers, because in IB schools this type of competition practically does not exist.
IB programmes focus on understanding content, not memorizing it, the creative work of the student, and putting the acquired knowledge into practice. Students are evaluated for development progress, not encyclopedic knowledge. Thus, children who start learning with the IB method only at the DP stage have to undergo a preparatory course to adapt to a different approach and way of working at school. In Polish three-year high schools they have the first year of school for this.
Wroclaw International School and the International School of Bydgoszcz are also private schools in Poland that offer the full range of IB teaching: PYP, MYP, and DP. It should be added, however, that several international private schools in Poland are currently at the stage of implementing these programs.
Why it’s worth doing the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme: a summary
The International Baccalaureate Diploma programme was created for children of different nationalities who are studying outside their home country. Its primary goal is to enable young people at the threshold of maturity to acquire secondary education, meeting the highest requirements of national programs and reputable universities. This will enable them to further develop and function effectively in an international environment.
IB schools form a multicultural community, educating young people in a spirit of tolerance and respect, while equipping them with key social skills. This, combined with knowledge and the ability to learn foreign languages (especially English), provides them with a solid foundation for further development in adulthood .
- International standard: IBDP is currently the best international program ensuring the highest level of education. It’s recognized by renowned universities around the world, which creates virtually unlimited possibilities for choosing a further development path. Also, many universities exempt students from IB schools from completing certain subjects in their first year.
- Knowledge guarantee: IBDP offers the highest quality of education and knowledge in every school certified by the IB organization. This is confirmed by the results of secondary school-leaving examinations, obtained by high school graduates of IB, 80% of whom pass it.
- Ability to learn: IBDP prepares students not only to pass the matura exam in Poland, but above all to learn independently. Developed during the two-year course—the skills of exploring subjects, searching for cause and effect relationships, interdisciplinary thinking and reasoning—become invaluable during studies.
- Comprehensive education: IBDP provides comprehensive student development: intellectual, emotional, and physical. It takes into account not only the stringent requirements set by the educational authorities of highly developed countries, but also reputable universities. During the preparatory course and the two-year IBDP course, young people solve various problems—scientific, social, and personal, while working individually or in groups. At the same time, students learn independence, critical thinking, teamwork, openness to others, other cultures and respect for them, and social responsibility. Young people describe, present, and defend their arguments, which makes them overcome any fear of public speaking. And because they learn in English (in Poland almost exclusively, although it’s not a rule in IB schools), this becomes their second language.
- Personal and social development: IBDP and all the IB programmes focus on the personal and social development of students. This is mainly served by the CAS program (Creativity, Action, and Service), the mandate of which is to develop students’ creativity and willingness to act and help others. This also encourages students to work independently and acquire knowledge, while cooperating with others and engaging with society, usually the local community.
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