IB World Schools and the International Baccalaureate®
The interdependent nature of the relationship between IB World Schools and the International Baccalaureate® (IB) is a defining characteristic of the worldwide IB community, bringing many benefits to IB World Schools and the broader organization.
Participation and involvement
For over 40 years, the International Baccalaureate® (IB) has developed and delivered its programmes with the participation and involvement of IB World Schools. The strength of this relationship is fundamental to the development of the curriculum, the training of teachers, the assessment of students and the authorization/evaluation of schools.
Heads/principals, administrators and teachers are actively involved at every stage of these activities. This involvement provides unique opportunities for professional development and networking while ensuring that IB programmes reflect best practices from schools worldwide.
As a result, the IB is often described as a worldwide community of schools, developing and sharing three programmes. Those involved frequently speak of this strong relationship while the organization lists "participation" and "partnerships" among its core values. IB governance and management advisory committees always include school participants and are often chaired by a head of school.
The IB is committed to developing this collaboration. It is one of our greatest strengths and uniquely defines the organization. Indeed, a goal in the adoption of the new "IB" identity was to shift our emphasis away from the "organization" and towards the "IB community", a reality much wider than the organization itself.
Independence and freedom
At the same time, both the IB Organization and IB World Schools benefit from a degree of independence and freedom.
The organization respects the fact that every IB World School is a self-governing entity and is therefore careful to avoid any misconception that the Organization manages schools. The IB establishes standards for the delivery of its programmes, but does not dictate how those standards are achieved. This ensures that the IB community is remarkably diverse and varied, but nevertheless, includes only schools that are committed to high quality education for a more peaceful world.
In a similar way, while IB governance includes and involves many heads of schools, the governance structure is independent from and not directed by IB World Schools. IB World Schools are not legally "members" of the IB Organization. In fact, the IB Organization is a non-profit, non-membership Swiss foundation—a status that provides legal safeguards to help protect the independence, reputation and integrity of the organization.
Given the longstanding strength of our reputation and the importance of being able to demonstrate independence (particularly to universities and governments in the context of assessment), this independence is critical.
The term that best describes the relationship between IB World Schools and the IB Organization is interdependence. While there is legal independence and freedom, we choose to collaborate closely because of the many mutual benefits that follow.
- School heads and coordinators are extensively involved in governance and management advisory groups (including the Board of Governors), ensuring that IB strategy, policy and programmes are informed by best practice and experience from around the world. But, the IB is not a membership organization.
- The IB does establish clear standards for the delivery of its programmes and ensures that our high quality reputation is preserved. But, it does not own or manage schools.
- The organization does use a formal system of nomination committees to ensure that the governance membership is diverse and reflective of the IB community. It also makes extensive use of school feedback (for example, questionnaires) to inform policy decisions. Yet IB World Schools do not elect the members of IB governance.
In a network of 3,904 IB World Schools and millions of stakeholders, it is the interdependence of our community and our willingness to pursue a common mission that defines us.