Abu Dhabi: Teachers and parents feel that children who study the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma programme are more mature, responsible and knowledgeable compared to students who follow the A-level programme.

There is an ongoing debate on this both in the UAE and the UK. The general view among parents and educators across the UAE shows that the IB programme helps lessen the confusion of which academic or career path to follow once students finish school.

Pratibha Rao has been an IB Co-ordinator. "How many of us knew at the age of 16 what we wanted to do for the rest of our lives? I certainly didn't and this is where the fundamental difference comes in. An A-levels student studies three or four subjects in depth, basically narrowing the subjects of study at university."

IB offers a broad-based curriculum. Students have to study six subjects selected from six disciplines.

"I feel that the the IB gives teenagers a global perspective, allows them to keep more subject options open for university and develops a well-rounded personality," said Rao.


George Robinson, Superintendent in the American Community School (ACS) feels the IB programme enables students to select courses that fit their interests and university expectations.

Jo Mill from New Zealand has enrolled three of her children in an IB programme.

"Even though they work harder and have more homework versus the normal international system in New Zealand, IB has enabled my kids to gain hands-on-experience as well as academic exposure."