Kiswahili added to IB Middle Years Programme

International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP) is pleased to announce that Kiswahili will be offered as part of the on-screen examinations in Language and Literature from May 2023. The addition of the language, spoken by 80 million people in East and Central Africa, helps the IB move one step further in its mission to be internationally-minded and to help promote international understanding and respect.

As the official language in Tanzania and Kenya, Kiswahili is mandatory in the national curriculums. Kiswahili is also used widely in Uganda, Somalia, Mozambique, Malawi, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo as a lingua franca and is the second most widely understood language in Africa after Arabic.

Benson Kamau, Development and Recognition Manager, Africa, said:

“Language is a tool for creativity, a medium for content and a repository for cultural knowledge and practice; it gives those who study it an opportunity to discover a peoples’ way of conceiving and expressing their world. Through studying Kiswahili, students will show an increasing awareness of the power of language —both in their own and others’ language use. Students will be able to use and interpret language suitably for a variety of intentions and contexts.”

By adding Kiswahili to the MYP eAssessment, students can take pride in their linguistic heritage and literary icons. It also further aligns the MYP to the Diploma Programme (DP), opening up a clear pathway for MYP students studying Kiswahili to further their study at DP level.

Alex Holland, Academic Development Manager at The Aga Khan Academies, said:

“As a network of schools that encourages all of our students to pursue their learning of their home languages to the highest possible level, we are delighted that our students will now have their learning of Kiswahili language and literature formally recognized by the IB, and will be eligible for the MYP Certificate. This is an important step forward in ensuring parity of opportunity for all language learners.”

This development will open up options for students to access universities across the continent and create future job prospects for students to teach the language across the globe.

Jackie Otula, Head of IB Programmes at Mpesa Foundation Academy in Kenya, said:

“With the approval to have Kiswahili included in the MYP, the IB has not only demonstrated its commitment to further promote international mindedness, but it has also given a nod of approval to promote a significant element of East African culture, a context within which Kiswahili holds prominence. When learning is contextualized, children thrive. This decision by the IB will certainly promote homegrown leaders, artists, authors, and a formidable workforce that takes pride in its linguistic heritage. Most importantly, the Bilingual MYP Certification that our students will acquire will provide a competitive edge when it comes to further education post the MYP.”