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How to Start an IB School Anywhere In India?

Posted on March 26, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu

For Starting an International Baccalaureate® (IB) school in India the school has to launch any of the four IB educational programs by an established school. The school must have the necessary permissions to start a school in the respective state, we talked about the procedure to open a school in our previous article How to Start a New School In India?

The IB is an International education foundation whose programs enjoy global recognition. To run any of the offered programmes, and becoming an IB school in the process, the school has to be authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization. As of now, in India, out of four IB programmes there are 108 diploma programs, 63 Primary Year Program and 21 Middle Year Program subscriber schools and the count is consistently growing. There is no Career Related Programme being run in India presently. Figures reflect that the IB diploma certificate is the most popular programme in India. Some schools running other educational board programmes such as ICSE and CBSE opt for the Diploma Programme instead of these School Certificate exams.

Globally, as of February 2018, there are 4786 schools in different countries providing around 6311 IB educational programmes. The IB programmes are well received and have been appreciated by Harvard educational psychologist Dr. Howard Gardner well known for his theory of Multiple Intelligences.

The IB professes its aim of creating learners with capabilities of global relevance in all walks of life besides consummate personalities.

The school can opt for any of the IB programmes including Primary Year Programme (PYP), Middle Year Programme (MYP), Diploma Programme (DP) and Career Related Programme (CRP). The DP corresponds to the senior secondary level exams for students 16 to 19 year old. In case a school chooses the DP affiliation it must commit to the IB’s teacher development programme and institute a coordinator’s office to create an uninterrupted communication channel with IB and if a school chooses to implement MYP programme and later on decides to affiliate to DP it must ensure that the there is no time gap i.e. a student passing from the MYP does not have to wait for IB DP Programme to start.

The entire affiliation process takes about 2 to 3 years according to the IB’s own records.

The initial step of IB affiliation process has been termed Global Authorization Process. These include furnishing school details through a School Information Form which must follow a feasibility study. To this end, school promoters must undertake an introspective study to analyze the level of adaptability of the school to the IB Programme. For the feasibility analysis, it is advisable to rope in people from academia, finance, and school promoters. This also involves the study of congruity between the IB vision and school’s own philosophy. It is recommended by the foundation that the school leadership participates in category 1 workshops for getting acquainted with the authorization process of IB.

There is a provision of professional development workshops conducted by IB which school promoters can participate in to advance with the vision of joining IB school’s community.  These workshops ease the process of analysis of the possible areas of school improvement and up gradation besides enhancing clarity regarding the IB Programme structure.

The school promoters can opt for obtaining a Diploma Programme starter pack for a fee and additional documents to comprehend programme standards and practices and specific programme requirements especially human, and financial resources and logistical requirements for meeting IB standards. And the school promoters must come up with a tentative timeline after definitively deciding to start an IB Programme in the school.

A feasible timeline has been presented by the IB. Given the school is in a sustainable financial situation it moves on with the decision of getting authorization to run the IB Programme in coherence with this timeline. The detailed 3 Year authorization timeline is available on IB official website.

The specific phases of affiliation process include ‘consideration’ by the school promoters, ‘request of candidacy’, ‘candidate phase’,’ request for authorization’ and ‘decision on authorization’

1. Consideration by the school promoters

This step involves

  • Participation in IB workshops by the school promoters
  • Appointing a prospective coordinator
  • Mobilization of support from the community and identify the areas of school improvement in line with IB’s standards
  • Aligning school’s existing educational ecosystem with IB’s Programme.

For details refer Guide to School Authorization, Programme Standards & Practices and Requirements for Candidacy

2. Request for candidacy and decision on candidacy

This step involves the review of

  • The outcome of the assessment of comparative study of the existing school Programme and the IB’s standards
  • The planning of the process of adaptation to IB’s programme
  • Documentation of the requirements of candidacy which includes the school’s legal status and structure, congruity with IB Programme, up gradation of skills of professionals, the budget of programme implementation etc.

A sample of Application for Candidacy can be downloaded from IB official website.

3. Candidate Phase

The measures to acquire authorization for the IB Programme implementation are taken by the school in the candidate phase, these include—

  • Trial authorization for Primary Year Programme, Middle Year Programme, if the school is opting for any of those, for 1 academic year minimum.
  • Attending of the IB professional development activities by the appointed programme coordinator and staff members.
  • Publicity of the candidate status by the school. The text of the marketing material can be downloaded from IB official website.
  • Receiving support from the regional IB office and IB Educator Network (IBEN).

Consultation remains the byword of the candidate phase. Customized consultation is provided to every school for successful IB  Programme implementation year after year throughout the authorization process which culminates with the on-site visit.

The definitive reference documents that guide the school starting an IB Programme include Guide to school authorization, Programme standards and practices, Guidelines for consultants, and Rules for candidate Schools.  All of these documents can be downloaded from resource and document library

4. Request for Authorization

The assessment must be made after completion of all the preceding stages and an application for authorization must be made for moving on to become an IB global school. Depending on the programme the application will be either for Trial Implementation. Application of Authorization can be downloaded from the Resource and Document Library. The application document is designed to capture the understanding that the school promoters have acquired regarding the IB Programme they are planning to implement and the level of preparedness of the school for running that programme.

Subsequent to the application comes a feedback from the IB which must be carefully studied, and recommendations made must be implemented. It may direct the school to furnish additional details and information which must be duly provided for the application for authorization to be considered complete.

The application is followed by a Verification Visit by the representative members of the IBEN. The verification of the state of the school and its readiness for the programme implementation is conducted by these on-site inspectors from IBEN.

5. Decision on Authorization

This constitutes the final phase of the authorization process for becoming an IB school. The decision to authorize a school to run an IB Programme is taken based on the verification report and the application of authorization made by the school.

In the event of any deficiency, the same is pointed out to the school authorities. These must be remedied within a given time frame for the authorization to come through.

In case the school is found fully prepared to run the IB Programme it has applied for the approval is given by the Director General to the school for running the corresponding IB programme.

After the authorization is granted the school would be allowed to market itself as an IB school running an IB Programme. The ways to market the school should be studied by the school authorities. The directions to market the school online are listed in the digital tool kit.

Applicable fee for IB candidate school can be obtained from Fees & Services section on IB official website.

The appeal of internationally recognized certification exams is growing in the global economy and so are rewards of internationally recognized certificates. It must be underscored that for becoming one of the schools providing this educational advantage what comes crucial is the understanding IB’s expectations from IB World Schools and analyzing if the programme is sustainable for the school. All preparations detailed above must be made in order to become an International Baccalaureate® school and make a difference in the educational scenario of India.


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Vinod Kakumanu

Founder & Consultant - School Serv

Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.

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