IB schools have been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and, while the world has seen disruption in all aspects of life, education was especially affected—our learning and teaching services morphed to accommodate the new needs of schools.
For the first time in the IB’s 50 year history, we did not administer exams in May, and all our professional development services were migrated online.
It is a testament to the IB’s relevance and continuous renovation that consistently and steadily more schools are joining the IB community, with over 5,200 authorized World Schools teaching over 7,000 programmes in 158 countries. The growth is spread evenly across all four programmes and across a diverse world—detailed metrics are available here.
We have worked hard to maintain healthy financial reserves to guarantee our continuing academic independence to develop our curricula and programmes, free from any political or commercial influences. We continue to provide more services for our schools, even as we have frozen all service fees for the past six years , and have removed candidate registration fees—all at a huge loss of revenue. We did so because we want to increase access to the IB curriculum.
Broad-based innovation continues in all three areas of our business—curriculum development, services to schools, and assessment services—in all of which we are committed to delivering continual improvements for our schools.
We have further invested in the IB’s transition to a digital organization. Our online communities and platforms have been expanded and optimised to include more remote-learning resources and webinars, in addition to a wide range of programme materials. MYP eAssessment has won five assessment innovation awards.
Research studies continue to validate the positive effect of IB teaching on our students.
In particular, we want to highlight a study by Oxford University which shows that Diploma programme students have superior critical thinking skills. These findings support previous research which showed that IB students are better prepared for university and proceed to better outcomes than non-IB graduates. We are also embarking on research with funding from the Jacobs Foundation to incorporate meaningful competencies (curiosity and creativity) into our assessment practices.
Another study into the Primary Years programme showed positive effects on student well-being, trans-disciplinary learning, inclusiveness and other social-emotional attributes.
Universities admissions officers and employers continue to welcome IB graduates, whose superior academic skills are coupled with a higher aptitude for teamwork and independent thinking—qualities needed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and especially prized in prospective students and colleagues.
During this pandemic and beyond, we look forward to working as a connected One IB community of passionate educators committed to creating a better world through education. We thank you for your partnership in making this mission a reality.
Dr Siva Kumari