IB pro­gram of­fers par­a­digm shift in ed­u­ca­tion

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - LEBANON - NAHLA EL-ZIBAWI

Last month, on Sept. 20, the Le­banese Par­lia­ment ap­proved equal­iz­ing the In­ter­na­tional Bac­calau­re­ate with the Le­banese Bac­calau­re­ate. This new law was first ini­ti­ated in the Com­mit­tee of Ed­u­ca­tion by its head H.E. Mrs. Bahia Hariri.

But what is the IB? Why is it im­por­tant that it is avail­able to Le­banese stu­dents? What ben­e­fits can it add to the ed­u­ca­tional sys­tems in Le­banon?

The IB started in 1968 in Geneva as an ed­u­ca­tional foun­da­tion named In­ter­na­tional Bac­calau­re­ate Or­ga­ni­za­tion. The pro­gram, which com­piles four sep­a­rate cy­cles for stu­dents aged 3 to 18, was de­vel­oped to be a holis­tic ed­u­ca­tional pro­gram that works on the stu­dents’ ed­u­ca­tional achieve­ments and their per­sonal growth equally.

The pro­gram aims to equip stu­dents with the nec­es­sary tools for them to over­come the chal­lenges they will face in life and at the same time pre­pare them to han­dle re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in the fu­ture. The IB pro­gram, which works on the prin­ci­ple that “peo­ple who are equipped to make a more just and peace­ful world need an ed­u­ca­tion that crosses dis­ci­plinary, cul­tural, na­tional and ge­o­graph­i­cal boundaries,” pro­vides schools with an au­tho­riza­tion be­fore they can im­ple­ment the IB pro­gram.

The IB doesn’t only ed­u­cate learn­ers to be good ci­ti­zens of the coun­try they live in but also cre­ates stu­dents with an in­ter­na­tional mind­set in which they share skills and be­liefs with stu­dents around the globe in or­der to reach a bet­ter and more peace­ful world.

On the other hand, the IB pro­gram fo­cuses on teach­ing the re­quired sub­jects by fol­low­ing the “learn­ing by do­ing” ap­proach. How­ever, this ap­proach is not only built on the prac­ti­cal ex­er­cises used in each sub­ject but also on spread­ing the con­tent on dif­fer­ent aca­demic sub­jects.

Hence, stu­dents learn to over­come the in­di­vid­ual sub­ject bound­ary by link­ing what they take in the English ses­sion for in­stance with what they took in the science ses­sion.

Ac­cord­ingly, the IB pro­gram, formed and de­vel­oped by con­tin­u­ous re­search and more than 40 years of ex­pe­ri­ence, is striv­ing to cre­ate learn­ers who are char­ac­ter­ized as in­quir­ers, thinkers, com­mu­ni­ca­tors, knowl­edge­able, prin­ci­pled, open-minded, car­ing, risk­tak­ers, bal­anced and re­flec­tive.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2015 “Pro­gram for In­ter­na­tional Stu­dent As­sess­ment” re­sults, by the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment which stud­ied the per­for­mance of stu­dents in math­e­mat­ics, science and read­ing in 72 coun­tries, Le­banon scored 396 in math­e­mat­ics, 347 in read­ing, and 386 in science while the OECD coun­tries av­er­age was 490 in math­e­mat­ics, 493 in read­ing and 493 in science.

But the ques­tion begs: Why did some mem­bers of Par­lia­ment and a group of par­ents and teach­ers op­pose Par­lia­ment’s de­ci­sion to ap­prove the IB if our ed­u­ca­tional sys­tems are not re­flect­ing good re­sults glob­ally?

The IB pro­gram may have some dis­ad­van­tages that key pol­i­cy­mak­ers are wor­ried about, but its ad­van­tages sur­pass them for the IB will surely add not only to the de­vel­op­ment of the Le­banese stu­dents but also open up op­por­tu­ni­ties that were not avail­able to Le­banese stu­dents pre­vi­ously.

The IB is a mile­stone for the Le­banese youth which will in­crease their com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage in the in­ter­na­tional uni­ver­sity and job mar­kets.

Nahla El-Zibawi project co­or­di­na­tor – Out­reach and Lead­er­ship Academy, Hariri Foun­da­tion for Sus­tain­able Hu­man De­vel­op­ment.

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