The accelerating pace of globalization in Indonesia leads to the mushrooming of international and national plus schools. Despite various curricula that these schools offer, the implementation of International Baccalaureate (IB) is on the rise.
The program is designed to encourage students to be active learners as a means of not only facing today’s fast-changing world, but also preparing for a tough, highly competitive future.
Established in 1968 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the International Baccalaureate program has been implemented in more than 2,300 schools in over hundred countries including Indonesia.
International and national plus schools such as Jakarta International School (JIS), British International School (BIS), Sekolah Perita Harapan (SPH) and Bina Nusantara (Binus) are only a few of dozens schools implementing the IB program in their curriculum.
Unlike state schools that still apply rote learning approach, IB program offers a more flexible learning approach. Rote learning approach, which emphasizes on memorization, is considered important for certain subjects, but it’s not the focus on the IB program which aims at turning students’ creativity and resourcefulness to mold becoming an independent global citizen.
Consisting of three segments, the Primary Years Program (PYP), Middle Years Program (MYP) and Diploma Program, the IB takes students from kindergarten to Year 12th grade by learning more in practical ways rather than focusing on memorization.
The Primary Years Program (PYP) defines the curriculum from kindergarten age to year 6. Aside from requiring students to study core subjects like English, math, arts, social studies, science and physical education, PYP develops an interactive learning program where thinking and creativity are emphasized.
The program teaches students to utilize their brain and motoric skills to unearth their potential and gain skills as well as learn valuable knowledge from the required subjects.Children’s creative skills and ability to think have the great potential to build their character toward becoming global citizens who can think critically and independently as well as work collaboratively with others.
The IB also stresses learning the values of respect for oneself and others as well as appreciation of diversity. It is important that these values are introduced in the early years so that the children can grow up as an integral part of society.
At Sekolah Pelita Harapan, for example, the school implements the IB program where the school’s primary children learn the values and attitudes through their daily activities in school — clapping when a classmate sings in front of the class indeed teaches the children how to show appreciation, asking an upset friend if they are ok helps the children develop the value of empathy, watching a dance from another country enables the children to become open-minded and culturally aware.
Nurturing these important values in children from a very young age will enable them to grow up as individuals who are ready to play their part in changing the world. The upbringing will continue in the Middle Years Program (MYP).
Both the PYP and MYP encourage students to develop their understanding of the subjects through an interaction with the real worlds. Through a variety of activities like drama and study fields, students are given actual case studies potential to make them become problem solvers. For example, Jakarta International School’s students taking part in a drama activity create a play, of which the script is written by the students in a language class.
A variety of choices of extracurricular programs such as sports, music, religion, science and technology, languages, cultural activities and arts and crafts, help students at IB schools develop their talent and skills.
Furthermore, the MYP in the 10th grade will allow students to take independent projects through research of the subjects that interest them. Many IB schools also allow the students to form their own groups in doing a research. This undoubtedly has the potential for Year 10 students to develop leadership and management skills toward building a solid team.
In general, educators are aware that peer pressure plays an important role in student taking the MYP. Therefore, many of the school’s subjects and activities offered are designed for preparing the students to be socially and culturally aware in positioning them among students their ages.
The MYP is the strong fundamental to build an individual who is active, communicative determined, inquisitive, respectful, purposeful, responsible and knowledgeable. All of these characters are potential to make the MYP students ready to embark on the IB Diploma Program.
Designed for 11th and 12th grade students, the Diploma Program offers classes designed to prepare students for university entrance. Unlike the previous IB programs, the Diploma Program requires fewer classes where students are required to take five or six classes from the following subjects: business, math, science, English, humanities, economics and Bahasa Indonesia.
The classes are designed based on the students’ needs prior to university entrance. For example, a student willing to further their education in business school is recommended to take economics, business and math classes during his or her diploma years.
No less interestingly, Diploma Program students are required to participate in philanthropic activities with the objective to nurture the students to learn about the social values. Binus International School is among the IB schools that have organized activities of visiting orphanages, distributing clothes and food to the less fortunate..
Notwithstanding the fact that IB is an overseas product of education, the program inculcates in students a sense of both national and international community, allowing them to be part of a multi-cultural society..
Despite all the benefits that students can gain from the IB program, there are unfortunately only implemented in some international curriculum schools.
Most parents send their children to IB schools not only because the school uses English as the medium of instruction, but also because of the effectiveness of the program to foster valuable knowledge and understanding of the subjects which are less-memory driven, therefore more applicable to the children’s future as citizens of the world.
Published in The Jakarta Globe on January 29, 2010.