International Baccalaureate Program

About the IB

Who we are

The IB is a nonprofit educational foundation, motivated by its mission, focused on the student. Founded in 1968, we currently work with 4, 655 schools in 147 countries to develop and offer three challenging programmes to over 546,000 students aged 3 to 19 years.


The International Baccalaureate (IB) is more than its three educational programmes. At our heart we are motivated by a mission to create a better world through education.

We value our hard-earned reputation for quality, for high standards and for pedagogical leadership. We achieve our goals by working with partners and by actively involving our stakeholders, particularly teachers.

We promote intercultural understanding and respect, not as an alternative to a sense of cultural and national identity, but as an essential part of life in the 21st century.

All of this is captured in our mission statement.

The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.

These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

What does the IB offer?

We develop and offer three programmes of international education for students aged 3 to 19, working in close cooperation with IB World Schools.

Our three programmes span the years from kindergarten to pre-university. The programmes can be offered individually or as a continuum.

  • The Primary Years Programme for pupils aged 3 to 12 focuses on the development of the whole child in the classroom and in the world outside.
  • The Middle Years Programme for pupils aged 11 to 16 provides a framework of academic challenge and life skills, achieved through embracing and transcending traditional school subjects.
  • The Diploma Programme for students aged 16 to 19 is a demanding two-year curriculum leading to final examinations and a qualification that is welcomed by leading universities around the world.

Each programme includes a curriculum and pedagogy, student assessment appropriate to the age range, professional development for teachers and a process of school authorization and evaluation. The programmes are available through 2,075 IB World Schools in 125 countries.

What makes the IB unique?

The IB offers a continuum of high-quality education that encourages international-mindedness and a positive attitude to learning. Our programmes are accessible to students in 125 countries through our close cooperation with the worldwide community of IB World Schools.

The IB is unique:

  • We offer a continuum of education, consisting of three individual programmes. We span the years from kindergarten to a pre-university diploma. While we are traditionally known for the Diploma Programme, IB World Schools increasingly offer all three programmes.
  • We are proud of our reputation for high-quality education sustained for over 35 years. Our curriculum represents the best from many different countries rather than the exported national system of any one. Our challenging Diploma Programme assessment is recognized by the world's leading universities. We maintain our high standards by actively training and supporting teachers, and by authorizing and evaluating IB World Schools.
  • We encourage international-mindedness in IB students. To do this, we believe that students must first develop an understanding of their own cultural and national identity. All IB students learn a second language and the skills to live and work with others internationally - essential for life in the 21st century.
  • We encourage a positive attitude to learning by encouraging students to ask challenging questions, to critically reflect, to develop research skills, and to learn how to learn. We encourage community service because we believe that there is more to learning than academic studies alone.
  • We ensure that our programmes are accessible to students in a wide variety of schools - national, international, public and private - in 125 countries. These IB World Schools form a worldwide community in which there is no such thing as a "typical" school (more than 50% of IB students are in state-funded schools). IB World Schools cooperate in curriculum development, student assessment and the governance of the IB, making this a unique international collaboration.

Who governs and manages the IB?

The IB is governed by an elected council that is representative of the main regions and stakeholder groups who make up the organization. It is managed by the director general and a team of 300 employees.

The IB is governed by the 17-member Council of Foundation.

Council members (except the director general) are all volunteers and receive no payment for their time or work for the organization.

The council has five committees to manage its regular business:

  • education
  • finance
  • compensation
  • nominations
  • audit.

The council draws its membership from each of the IB regions through the four regional advisory committees (RACs) and the four regional heads representative committees (RHRCs). The chairs of the international heads representative committee (IHRC) and the IB fund board of trustees are also members. There is a tradition of involving IB graduates as members. The council elects its own presidents, secretary and treasurer.

The major responsibilities of the council include the development and approval of a strategic plan and the appointment of the director general.

The director general appoints the IB's professional staff of approximately 300 people who manage the organization and provide services and support to IB World Schools.

What are IB World Schools?

The IB does not own or manage any schools. Instead, we work with schools around the world (both state and privately funded) that share our commitment to international education.

Schools that have been authorized by us to offer one or more of our programmes are known as "IB World Schools".

These schools:

  • share the mission and commitment of the IB to quality international education
  • play an active and supporting role in the worldwide community of IB schools
  • share their knowledge and experience in the development of the IB programmes
  • are committed to the professional development of teachers.

Authorization to become an IB World School is an intensive process that typically takes two or more years and includes site visits by an IB team.

A regular process of evaluation is undertaken by schools that have been authorized.

How is the IB funded?

The IB charges fees for its services - specifically for student assessment, teacher training and publications. Each IB World School pays an annual fee. In addition, donors and governments provide funding that supports special projects and initiatives.


How has the IB grown?

Approximately 1.3 million students are enrolled in one of the three IB programmes at schools in 147 countries. Over the past ten years, the number of students has grown between 10% and 20% each year, resulting in remarkable levels of sustained growth.

Compound annual growth rates for the three programmes demonstrate strong year-on-year growth. The IB is currently estimated to reach over 1.3 million students.

Managing this rapid growth while maintaining our reputation for high quality is central to the challenge of our strategic plan.

Where is the IB located?

We work with schools in 147 countries from our headquarters in Geneva and our offices / representatives in Bath, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Cardiff, Geneva, Mumbai, New York, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo and Vancouver.

The director general is based at the headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Our largest office is the curriculum and assessment centre in Cardiff, UK where we also house our departments for finance, human resources, information and communications technology (ICT), and strategic planning. Our research unit is based at the University of Bath in the UK.

The IB regional offices support schools in the four IB regions: Africa, Europe, Middle East; Asia-Pacific; Latin America; and North America and the Caribbean.

Source: International Baccalaureate Organization