IB Curriculum



The IB has already educated over 1 million students since it was founded more than 40 years ago, earning a reputation for quality education, high standards, consistent and rigorous assessment, and leadership in international education. It synthesises the best research and practice from a range of national systems with the wealth of knowledge and experience in international schools. The IB’s programmes for students aged 3 to 19 help develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world. At present there are a further 1 million IB students at approximately 4000 schools in 144 countries studying the PYP, MYP and Diploma programmes.

The IB programmes are the Primary Years Programme (PYP, 3-11 years of age), Middle Years Programme (MYP, 11-16 years)) and Diploma Programme (DP, 16-19 years). We believe that these three IB programmes are more challenging for young people than traditional models. Yet we see students emotionally engaged with their learning as they see how it relates to their own lives and those of others. Learning is life and life is learning! It goes without saying that happy children learn more.

The IB ensures that there is consistency in all schools offering the IB programmes. This is important since there is always a likelihood that students will enter and leave the programmes at several different points, whether because they are making the natural progression through schools in their own country, or because their families are internationally mobile. The features that form the basis of the three programmes include:

  • the emphasis on inquiry, reflection and academic rigour.
  • the broad nature of study, including more than one language
  • the flexibility of each programme’s curriculum model, enabling teachers to respond to local requirements and interests
  • the diversity and flexibility of pedagogical approaches.
  • the education of the whole person; they emphasize intellectual, personal, emotional, and social growth.
  • the emphasis on local and global issues, and events.

Note that students can enter the PYP, MYP and Diploma programmes from other educational systems anywhere in the world. Students can also move from PYP and MYP to other programmes.

See this IB video to learn how the ‘IB learner profile’ is the IB mission statement translated into a set of learning outcomes for the 21st century.

ISM and the IB

ISM was authorized to teach the IB Diploma Programme in January 1977 and in so doing became the first IB school in Africa. The IB granted ISM authorization to teach the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP) in May 2007. ISM was instrumental in the future development of the MYP worldwide during the early 1980s when we sought and received support for an alternative approach to teaching adolescents. We are proud of our historical legacy with the IB.

One of the great advantages that the IB has recognized and benefited from since its inception has been the creative professionalism of its teachers. Innovative and committed teachers of IB programmes, including many at ISM, from many different cultures have played a very significant role in the development of each programme and they have clearly believed in a style of teaching that not only stimulates curiosity, inquiry, reflection and critical thinking, but also promotes the development of empathy. Some of ISM’s teachers, past and present, are IB subject trainers, examiners, programme trainers, trained members of IB authorization teams and IB consultants.