THE International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) has continued to gain popularity within international schools around the globe including here in Malaysia.
Notably, this programme is recognised as an entrance qualification to universities in more than 140 countries.
The number of IBDP schools is consistently increasing and Sunway International School in Sunway City (Selangor) and Sunway Iskandar (Johor) are part of this movement.
With the first batch of IBDP students graduating in December this year, students will be focusing on the next step of university entrance to world class post-secondary institutes in Canada, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
The IBDP curriculum is well known for its rigorous and holistic learning approach and is designed for students aged 16 to 19 with courses in various disciplines.
Students are encouraged to be creative problem solvers, to exercise collaboration, to be risk takers, and to actively learn beyond the classroom.
One of the distinctive features of IBDP is the Core: 3 compulsory components that challenge students to extend each student’s knowledge and experiences.
The three components are Theory of Knowledge (exploring the base of knowledge); Creativity, Activity and Services (covering hands-on activities, exploration and community service); and Extended Essay (a 4,000-word mini-thesis).
In Theory of Knowledge, students learn to polish their analytical skills to reflect on the nature of knowledge learned throughout all of their courses, allowing them to express their personal evaluation of the reliability of the things they learn and experience.
Here, students gain the ability to differentiate between ideological assumptions and personal views, while developing an extensive understanding of diversity and cultural roles. This is designed to stimulate their critical thinking within and outside the content of their subjects of study.
All students should be involved in their community, in physical activity and the arts. IB encourages this through Creativity, Action, Service (CAS).
Over the two years of the IBDP, students work to achieve seven different learning outcomes through extracurricular activities, community service, and exploration of the activities and artistic endeavours that they find most engaging.
CAS components emphasise the importance of balancing different aspects of life – intellectual, physical, spiritual and emotional.
Creativity is the component whereby students are able to explore their ideas and develop them into more meaningful products or outcomes.
Activity requires students’ participation in individual or team sports while adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Service includes a host of services provided to the community, encouraging their social responsibilities and their purpose.
Students who enjoy a collaborative environment, seek personal growth, and can reflect upon their experiences make ideal IBDP students. CAS encourages students to explore new possibilities and actively participate in both the local and global community.
At Sunway International School, IBDP students organised a fund-raising project for dyslexic children and promoted mental health awareness. They were also involved in poetry club, running club, taekwondo, swimming, and many of the over 50 different extra-curricular activities offered at the school.
The Extended Essay component promotes research and analysis. Students are required to research, write, and submit a 4,000-word essay on any topic that relates to a subject they are studying and which holds personal interest.
This mini-thesis is written over 10 months under the supervision of an IB advisor and helps students develop their time management skills while at the same time polishing their ability to research, analyse sources, write, edit and persuade.
Effective communication with and support from the student’s advisor is essential for Extended Essay to ensure a smooth process from researching to writing.
Additionally, students are expected to demonstrate excellent content knowledge and understanding, conceptual and contextual awareness, as well as critical and reflective thinking.
This focus on effective research skills and understanding is vital when the students undergo their undergraduate and post graduate studies in the future.
For more information about Sunway International School’s IB Diploma Programme, drop by the IB Exploration Day on Aug 11 (10am-1pm) at its Sunway City campus in Selangor.