, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 341–359 | Cite as

An international model of world-class education: The International Baccalaureate

  • Ian HillEmail author


This article posits that world-class education is international education, as defined by UNESCO, and presents International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes as examples of this phenomenon. It begins with the IB’s 1960s origins in international schools, which educated the children of globally mobile parents who worked principally in the UN and its agencies, and in embassies and multinational companies. Its origin led to its perception as elitist, but it has since been democratised in public (state) schools in quite a number of countries, notably in North America; starting in 2012, the IB offers the IB Career-related Certificate (IBCC) programme for students following vocational courses. Then follows an overview of the four education programmes of the IB, in order of creation: Diploma Programme (1970), Middle Years Programme (1994), Primary Years Programme (1997), and the IB Career-related Certificate (2012). Attributes of a world-class education are suggested: the concept of interdependence between nations, the shaping of attitudes, the relevance of curriculum content and teaching methods, and the importance of including an international perspective. The article concludes with a list of competencies for a world-class education based on the IB Learner Profile.


International Baccalaureate International education International mindedness Intercultural education Global education Peace education World-class education 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International BaccalaureateGrand-Saconnex, GenevaSwitzerland

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