The International Baccalaureate is a truly global education system and a popular choice in Hong Kong schools. But what exactly is the IB curriculum and is an IB school the right choice for your child? We’re here to help!
If you plan on continuing to globetrot with your kids as they grow or are looking for a curriculum that encourages cultivated thinkers, it’s definitely worth looking closer at the International Baccalaureate or IB programme. The International Baccalaureate organisation was first established in 1968 as a response to the inflexibility of different school systems across the globe. Today, the IB curriculum is taught in over 3000 schools across 140 different countries worldwide. Curious to know more? Here’s what you need to know about the International Baccalaureate and the schools that offer it in Hong Kong.
Featured International Baccalaureate Schools In Hong Kong
Creative Secondary School (CSS)
Offering a rigorous, standards-based International Baccalaureate curriculum for students aged 12 to 16 years, Creative Secondary School in Tseung Kwan O is now open for enrollment. The school takes the best of Chinese and international educational ideals to ensure your children will receive a world-class education, that will prepare them for the opportunities and challenges in our fast-paced world through a wide range of experiential learning activities. Not only is CSS an IB World School, but it delivers exceptional pastoral care recognised by receiving the prestigious Inviting School Fidelity Award by the International Alliance for Invitational Education (a global network of educators creating positive school environments).
Sassy Mama Tip: Don’t miss out on the Creative Secondary School Admissions Talk! It’s happening on Tuesday, 28 June, 2022 from 3pm to 4:30pm.
Hong Kong Academy (HKA)
HKA’s state-of-the-art campus is located in scenic Sai Kung and boasts small class sizes with a good mix of local and international students. Hong Kong Academy offers a highly personalised, dynamic and rigorous education for students aged 3 to 18 years. It is fully authorised to offer an all-through International Baccalaureate education (PYP, MYP, and DP) and is the only school in Hong Kong to offer the Global Citizens Diploma. Its programmes are designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive and there is great emphasis on encouraging children to contribute to their local and global communities. Get in touch with their friendly admissions team to book your personalised tour of the campus.
What Is The International Baccalaureate?
The IB programme is about creating internationally-minded, creative critical thinkers. The IB programme is student-centred and has a solid reputation worldwide for offering a robust, well-rounded, and organised curriculum with well-defined standards. While the IB Diploma programme is notoriously challenging (see more information below), with students often bemoaning its heavy workload, it also aptly prepares students for university. In fact, more IB graduates get into US colleges and universities than students from any other programs!
The International Baccalaureate also offers more choice and variety for students in course selection and emphasises an interdisciplinary approach by encouraging students to combine subjects in their projects and assignments. The IB programme also focuses on social responsibility and has Community Action Service (CAS) projects where students must find and contribute 150 hours to working and giving back within their community.
Schools that want to take up the IB programme require international accreditation, which is a two-to-three-year process, ensuring that the high standards of the program are maintained no matter the location.
IB Curriculum: Primary Years Programmer (PYP)
The IB PYP programme was established for children aged 3-12 and was first offered in 1997. Similar to the UK’s Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), the primary aim of the PYP IB curriculum is to help children become lifelong learners.
IB Curriculum: Middle Years Programme (MYP)
The MYP was the second programme created within the IB framework. It was first offered in 1994 and offers a secondary curriculum for children aged 11-16. The MYP is the equivalent of the GSCE but without the individual exams. The MYP programme is designed to help students make practical and real connections with academics and the real world while also creating an inclusive environment that caters to students of all abilities and interests.
IB Curriculum: Diploma Programme (DP)
This is the IB’s flagship programme, having first been established in 1968. It is equivalent to the British A’ Level and is a pre-university qualification aimed at students 16-19 years of age. This programme is widely accepted around the world and is prominent in cities like Hong Kong.
IB Curriculum: Career-related Programme (CP)
Also aimed at students aged 16-19, the CP programme is the IB framework’s latest iteration having first been offered in 2012. The program’s focus is to facilitate career-related education and is not dissimilar to the UK’s BTEC.
IB Schools In Hong Kong
Canadian International School (CDNIS)
CDNIS is one of the six schools in Hong Kong to offer an all-through IB curriculum offering three of its programmes (PYP, MYP and DP). What makes CDNIS different is that it is the only school that offers a dual diploma, with students graduating with both the IB DP as well as the Ontario Secondary School Diploma.
Chinese International School (CIS)
CIS is an all-through school that offers the MYP IB and the IB DP programme for its students. Its primary-aged programme is based on a Positive-Education model and various US models. It is a fully bilingual school in which courses are taught in both English and Mandarin. The school was founded in 1983, holds around 1,500 students from various nationalities and has a very strong academic record.
Independent Schools Foundation Academy (ISF)
ISF offers the MYP and the IB DP. Its early years’ school uses the EYFS curriculum. ISF is a fully bilingual school with both native Mandarin and English teachers. Its student body is around 1,600 and as a private independent school, 70% of the students must have permanent residency in Hong Kong.
English School Foundation Schools (ESF Schools)
There are 22 different ESF schools spread across Hong Kong, three of which are all through (PYP, MYP, and DP). All ESF schools are accredited IB schools, using the PYP IB programme, the IB DP programme or both. ESF also has one special needs school for both primary and secondary-aged children as well as various mainstream support within their existing schools.
Li Po Chun United World College (LPCUWC)
LPCUWC offers a unique experience as it is a boarding-only school that offers a two-year IB DP programme to both local and international students. LPCUWC is part of the United World Colleges (UWC) movement that emphasises that education is a means to unite people, cultures, and nations peacefully and sustainably. 45% of the students at LPCUWC are from Hong Kong with the remaining from places all over the world. The campus is made up of four residential blocks and is open to students aged 16- 18 years old.
Nord Anglia International School Hong Kong (NAIS)
NAIS offers both the IGCSE and the IB DP for students, making use of the National Curriculum for England and the IB diploma. The school has a high reputation under the Nord Anglia name for its STEAM, performing arts, and hands-on extracurricular activities. While the school has a strong British influence under the National Curriculum, students in Years 12 and 13 study the IB DP.
Yew Chung International School Hong Kong (YCIS)
YCIS has three campuses that have a unique Chinese-English bilingual programme committed to the immersion of Western and Chinese ideologies. YCIS schools have both a Western and a Chinese principal and each of their classrooms follows suit with native-speaking teachers. YCIS’ kindergarten and primary school use the National Curriculum for England and in year 11 students can take their IGCSEs. In years 12 and 13, the students then switch to the IB DP programme. A pre-IB programme is available for Year 11 students to prepare them for the IB DP.
More International Baccalaureate Schools In Hong Kong
- Carmel Elementary School — Jewish IB Primary School. www.carmel.edu.hk
- Creative Primary School — Integrates the Hong Kong standard curriculum with IB PYP under the government Direct Subsidy Scheme. www.creativeprisch.edu.hk
- Creative Secondary School — see above. www.css.edu.hk
- Diocesan Boys’ School — English medium all-through boy’s school with Christian principles. Very strong academic record. Under the government Direct Subsidy Scheme. www.dbs.edu.hk
- Elsa High School — Jewish secondary school part of the Carmel School Associate. www.carmel.edu.hk
- Hong Kong Academy — All-through IB curriculum in Sai Kung. www.hkacademy.edu.hk
- Kingston International School — The first school in Hong Kong to offer the IB PYP curriculum. www.kingston.edu.hk
- Victoria Shanghai Academy — High-achieving IB school. www.vsa.edu.hk
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