In today’s hyper-connected workplace, an international education takes center stage for Cyprus students as a foundation for success
In May 2016, almost 150,000 students sat the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) examinations across the world, a growth of over 32% over the past four years. According to a 2015 report released by the non-profit International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), the top European IB cohorts originated from United Kingdom, Netherlands, Spain and Germany, with student numbers ranging from 2000 to 5000, while only 50 Cypriot nationals appeared for the exam in the same year. Over 200 schools joined the IBO family just in the last year alone, and the Greek Education Ministry recently announced a proposal to reform the country’s education model based on the IB system. So, should more students in Cyprus be taking advantage of this global phenomenon?
For one, the IB program is proven to surpass other systems like the Advanced Placement or the A-Levels for breadth, encouraging independent thinking, research skills and international-mindedness.
According to Dr. Michelle Kleiss, Director of American International School in Cyprus, the island’s oldest and most well established IB schools, “We highly encourage Cypriot students to consider the IBDP as a superior international qualification. Educators the world over understand that the IB is the most challenging school exam for high school students, and longitudinal research has shown that IB students are significantly more likely to attend a top 20 university, demonstrate a better performance, and are more likely to achieve first class honors degrees than their A-level peers, and go on to earn higher entry-level salaries.”
A study by Professor David Wray at the University of Warwick, UK, showed that the self-directed learning opportunities provided by the IB program helped students develop robust critical and independent thinking skills, making them, overall, more positive than A Level students about their pre-university education, especially when it came to the depth of their learning, where inquiry was prioritized over memorization. University admissions officers in the UK also indicated that the IBDP better prepares students for further study and employment, highly valuing the work ethics and self-management skills, as well as the global awareness and connectivity afforded by the IBDP – essential for 21st Century learning.
“Supported by highly qualified counselors and teachers, there is absolutely no doubt that our IB students are ready to compete on a global level even before they have entered university,” shared Dr. Kleiss. “Leading US and Canadian colleges offer accelerated or advanced standing credits to students who have earned high scores on higher-level IB courses, allowing them to fast track through their Freshman years. For example, both Stanford University and University of Toronto offer credit for higher-level exams with scores of 5 or above.”
5 things you need to know about the IB
- An outstanding alternative to A Levels for students aged 16-19
- Courses include English, Mathematics, Science, Language, Humanities and Theatre/Visual/Performance Arts
- The diploma includes a core Theory of Knowledge course, which explores how we learn across all disciplines
- A practical and mandatory Creativity Activity Service (CAS) component helps students build social responsibility through community service
- The Extended Essay component is comparable to a research thesis
According to IBO, as a result of their time in the IB, students develop:
- Time management skills and a strong sense of self-motivation
- A keen interest in civic engagement
- Notable academic ability
- Strong research and writing skills
- Critical thinking abilities
- Intercultural respect and understanding
Closer to home, increasing numbers of top European universities in countries like Germany, Holland, Austria and Ireland are now offering strong higher education programs delivered in English, which are seen by parents as great value compared to UK & North America institutions. The IBDP provides students the widest reach among these universities, allowing them to widen their higher education prospects, while saving on their tuition investment.
Overall, as universities and employers seek broader horizons in an ever-shrinking world, the IBDP may be just the right foundation that today’s students need for global success. To discover more about the IB program, visit www.ibo.org, or make an appointment to meet with AISC’s counselors via www.aisc.ac.cy , to see how the IB can help your child achieve his or her personal bests.