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Raising world citizens

The renowned IB organisation faces unique challenges in India Pankaj Mullick reports

education Updated: Mar 17, 2010 09:24 IST
Pankaj Mullick

The International Baccalaureate’s (IB) philosophy and programmes have been equally lauded and tagged as elitist. It is also widely thought that an IB diploma is like a passport to higher education overseas, especially in the UK. It is less widely known that the organisation invests heavily in quality teacher training and has a very rigorous assessment system that contributes to the high cost of its programmes. However, leaving perceptions aside, IB has continued to assist schools all over the world in producing students geared to take on the challenges of world citizenship.

In the Indian context though, the organisation faces some challenges. Chief among them is the high cost of an IB education and, the few months’ gap between the time when Indian universities offer seats to school pass-outs and the time that IB schools announce results.

Addressing these issues, Dr Siva Kumari, regional director - Asia Pacific, IB, says, “We have not asked the government to subsidise or aid IB programmes in India. In some other countries, government incentives do greatly foster schools’ ability to provide high-quality professional development for their teachers.

However, it is for the Indian government to decide. Of course we are heartened by HRD Minister Kapil Sibal’s progressive ideas for the Indian schooling systems.”

Dr Kumari took a very rational stand on the difficulty that IB Diploma holders face while seeking admission in coveted Indian institutions. She says, “We would ask Indian universities interested in IB diploma students to work with the IB in ensuring that pathways exist for these students just as (in) many other universities around the world. I suppose it is a reality that the ratio of applicants for available seats is so great that universities have a lot of other things on their mind.”

She adds, “We will need to work with universities to inform them of how this IB results timing can be overcome. Since we are a global organisation, we have this situation in other countries as well. One means of addressing this issue is making conditional offers to students.”