The SchoolsCompared Expert Opinion – October 2021:
“The IB Career-related Programme
Why more, and more, schools are introducing it – and why it’s such a valuable option for students.”
Background – The International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) launched its Career-related Programme (CP) in 2012. It did so in order to meet the needs of a wider group of students, appealing to those that may already have a specific career in mind, a particular passion they’re eager to pursue, or a skillset they want to enhance. In 2017, there were 200 schools in the world offering the CP, and the growth has been exponential ever since. In just four years, that number has increased to 299, and today there are many more schools that are well on the way to CP accreditation – as is the case at my own school, GEMS International School – Al Khail, which started offering the CP from September.
Meeting the needs of Students.
The reason behind the CP’s increasing popularity lies in its many advantages for students. The programme offers an interesting balance between academics and career-focused studies that integrate both rigour and applied skills that allow students to finish high school with a profile that’s attractive to both universities and employers. For many schools, introducing the CP has given students the opportunity to select an alternative pathway to the IB Diploma Programme (DP) – one that takes a somewhat different academic approach while still keeping the famed IB Learner Profile at its core.
Career, skill – and talent focus.
While the IBDP is a holistic pathway in which students take on six courses from different subject groups, the IBCP is a specialised pathway designed for students who have already identified a specific passion or skillset they want to pursue, and it still leads students into higher university education. In this way, the CP provides a unique combination of rigour through the IBDP course selection, while simultaneously introducing hands-on professional skills and experience in a specific field of interest. This is extremely valuable for students who already have a greater sense of what they want to do after school.
IB Career-related Programme course and pathways structure.
The CP revolves around the Career-related Subject that students select. This subject can come in the form of various approaches, depending on the interests of the student body at a given school – from university dual enrolment programmes offered in collaboration with world-class specialised universities such as Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University or Les Roches International School of Hotel Management, to UK National Level 3 iBTECs. IBCP students also select two to four IBDP subjects to complement their CP studies as part of the curriculum. For example, an IBCP Business student might also study DP Economics, DP Psychology and DP Language and Literature.
The IB Core – the Heart of the Career-related Programme.
At the heart of the IBCP lies the Core, which includes the Personal and Professional Skills course that focuses on lifelong skills that students will need in the workplace and in their contributions to society as global citizens. This includes practical elements such as job interview practice, creating a CV, and how best to make difficult decisions around ethical dilemmas in a professional setting. The Core also includes Language Development of a non-native language, Service Learning and the Reflective Project. The latter allows students to investigate a real-world issue in the field of their choice, and to develop possible solutions to the problem. The nature of the Reflective Project allows students to perfect a wealth of valuable skills such as research, communication and critical thinking. It is in the Core of the IBCP that universities and employers find intrinsic value in the curriculum.
Impact and Opening Doors to University and Industry.
According to the IB, there were 1,088 universities across 35 different countries that accepted applications from CP students between 2015 and 2019, with over 750 of these institutions in the United States, 150 in the United Kingdom, 33 in Canada, 26 in the Netherlands, 18 in Australia and 12 in Switzerland.
Fast forward to today, and more and more universities are showing interest in CP candidates, as they recognise the enormous value it brings to students, developing them into specialists in their field at a young age, while still empowering them with academic rigour and inculcating them with the attributes of the IB Learner Profile.
Notes for parents
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