International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO)
The International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) offers a worldwide community of schools the opportunity to organise their studies on the basis of the IBO’s three internationally recognised educational programmes. The IBO is an international organisation with headquarters in Geneva and its curricula are used in 138 countries across the world. The IB programme used most frequently by schools is the Diploma Programme. The IB Diploma Programme diploma is recognised by more than 80 respected universities all over the world, including the University of Tartu, the Tallinn University of Technology, and the Tallinn University in Estonia.
In the 2010/2011 academic year, two schools in Estonia have organised their study process according to the IB curricula. The International School of Estonia provides education based on the IB Primary Years Programme and the IB Diploma Programme, while the Tallinn English College offers its pupils the opportunity to study according to the IB Diploma Programme. The Tallinn English College is the first municipal school in Estonia to be approved (in May 2009) for the implementation of an IB curriculum at the upper secondary school level as of 1st September 2009.
The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is aimed at pupils aged from 3 to 12. The primary objective of the programme is to ensure the development of the whole child both in the classroom and with regard to extracurricular activities and study. This programme may be taught in any language, although English is mostly used as the language of instruction. The International School of Estonia also uses English as the language of instruction.
The Middle Years Programme (MYP) is intended for pupils aged from 11 to 16. This programme supports the acquisition of the skills that are necessary for successfully coping with academic challenges and life through subject study as well as the integration of subjects. The programme may be taught in any language. MYP curriculum documents are available to schools in English, French, Spanish, and Chinese and if schools require the grades of their students to be validated by the IBO then sufficient student work must be produced in one of the aforementioned languages.
The Diploma Programme (DP) is intended for pupils aged from 16 to 19.
The IB Diploma Programme lasts for two years and is usually preceded by a preparatory year of study in the first year of upper secondary school. One of the main goals of the Diploma Programme is to provide students with a qualification that is recognised by universities around the world. In addition, the curriculum is also based on the following principles: ensuring mutual understanding between different nationalities, developing the whole person, and developing critical reasoning and thinking skills.
The guiding principle of the Diploma Programme curriculum is to ensure maximum flexibility in the students’ choice of subjects. The curriculum is can be viewed as a hexagon with six subject groups (native language, foreign languages, social studies, natural sciences, mathematics, and an additional elective subject) that are positioned around a core consisting of independent research (Extended Essay), an interdisciplinary course on the theory of knowledge (Theory of Knowledge), and creative works, physical activity and services that benefit the community (CAS – Creativity, Activity, Service). Each of the subjects, except for the obligatory core courses, can be studied at higher level (HL) or standard level (SL). In order for the students’ individual choices to be balanced, they must select at least one subject from each subject group. The schools develop their own curricula according to their means as well as the wishes of the students and the needs of the society.
The IB Diploma Programme ends with international examinations in all subjects. Good examination results allow the graduates to successfully apply to universities in Estonia and abroad. Young people with IB DP diplomas who wish to study at an Estonian university are not required to take state examinations.
In the case of the Diploma Programme, subjects may be taught in English, French, or Spanish. The most common language of instruction is English.
You can learn more about the International Baccalaureate Organisation and the curricula offered by the organisation by visiting their website at www.ibo.org.