Seven International Baccalaureate (IB) World Schools from across Africa and Europe are celebrating 40 years of offering the Diploma Programme (DP), having recognised the IB’s unique proposition and started the programme in 1977, just nine years after it was first launched.

The schools, which are celebrating 40 years’ commitment to nurturing students to demonstrate a genuine care and respect for the world around them, are spread across six countries and are:

  • American International School, Austria
  • Anglo European School, United Kingdom
  • Colegio Internacional SEK El Castillo, Spain
  • International School Moshi, Tanzania
  • International School of Brussels, Belgium
  • International School of London, United Kingdom
  • Mutuelle d’Etudes Secondaires, Switzerland

Adrian Kearney, Director of IB World Schools at the IB, said: “These seven schools were early adopters of the DP; some of them being the first in their cities or even their countries to offer the programme. The IB alumni that have graduated from these seven schools over the 40 years have, and still are, making huge impacts on the world. Reaching the 40th anniversary mark is a real testament to the commitment of these schools to our mission of education for a better world”.

Global competence

IB programmes are designed to engage students in educational learning that equips them for life in the 21st century. This was evidenced by Yugi, a six-year-old student from International School Moshi who, when asked ‘what is an IB school?’, said: “The IB is about people from different places working together”. Students are taught ito embrace their own culture but be open and responsive to other cultures and views; an attribute that was recently recognized by PISA and which will be assessed in this year’s PISA examinations.

Amin Makarem, Managing Director at International School of London (the first school in London to offer the DP), whose father, Nadim Makarem, originally founded the school in 1972, said: “Within the backdrop of 1970s London, we were looking for a programme that would broaden our students’ opportunities and prepare them for their lives as truly global citizens—the IB was, and still is, the only curriculum that does this. As one of the pioneers of the Diploma Programme, we are organising a community event later this academic year to celebrate the journey that we and the IB have taken together over the past 40 years”. 

When asked why Colegio Internacional SEK El Castillo decided to offer the IB, Marta Rodger, Director General, SEK International Schools, said: “The IB is totally aligned with SEK’s guiding principles. It provides a unique educational experience centred on the student. The IB allows students to develop their cognitive, socio-emotional and physical dimensions, nurturing their cultural identity within a multicultural context; providing opportunities for them to discover their interests and passions, and to accept the responsibilities related to making choices”.

Anglo European School in Ingatestone, Essex was the first state school in the UK to offer the DP. David Barrs, Head teacher at the school, said: “We are an IB World School through and through—it’s not just about delivering a programme of education”. Barrs described the IB as: “The cement that holds the school together, its philosophy is pervasive”.

Kearney added: “It is thanks to our international community of IB World Schools that our programmes are such a success among students around the world. Since 1977, when these schools were authorised to offer IB, there were only 19 IB World Schools, which has now grown to almost 5,000. These schools have helped grow our network of schools that care about developing conscientious 21st century citizens”. 

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