IBO is an acronym for International Baccalaureate Organization.

It is now the largest and most recognized educational organization in the world with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. More information is available at www.ibo.org. Its activities include the improvement and training of teachers in modern educational methods, control and supervision of schools from all over the world that want to implement the ways of working developed by expert teachers employed by the IBO. The IBO community consists of thousands of teachers, hundreds of thousands of students, almost a million parents dedicated to the idea of the highest quality education.

Open Future is the answer to this demand – a top quality, internationally certified school for children from all over the world living here in Krakow.

Some interesting history…

The story of the IBO began in the 1960s, when humanity was preparing for a seemingly inevitable end. Events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 made it clear to everyone that one rash decision by one world leader could in an instant turn everything we loved, worked for, believed in into grim, dead, gray, radioactive dust. It was a time when the societies of Europe and the U.S. were not wondering if, but rather when, the beginning of a brief but world-ending World Atomic War III would occur. But what did education have to do with it?

In those days, educators realized how outdated and dangerous the system of public, traditional education was. After World War I, it was said to be the last war in the history of mankind, as it took so many lives and brought such loss and suffering to all warring parties that it was impossible for nations to ever rise up against each other again. However, it took only 21 years for the conflict to break out in 1939, even bigger, even more terrible and driven by even greater madness of nations. We Poles understand perfectly the tragedy of those times. Only a dozen years after the end of World War II, people were building anti-atomic shelters in their gardens, gathering food and medicine, learning survival techniques in a post-atomic world!

The best teachers realized that the education system in Europe based on Bismarck’s ideas of building an authoritarian state was to blame for the spiraling madness in our region of the world. Schools at the time required students to learn the rules by heart, solve simple tasks according to diagrams or reproduce memorized images, and of course the ability to write identically by hand, which seemed understandable in the pre-computer era. The system was constructed in such way, that apart from teaching knowledge and competences necessary for work in offices and enterprises, it taught citizens discipline, obedience and get used to violence from superiors, and it taught superiors to enforce orders with verbal as well as physical violence. The purpose of teaching history, for example, was to remember that in the year X a neighboring nation had treacherously occupied this and that territory and that this was bad, but that in the year Y, under the command of the heroic general Z, our troops had defeated their army and had not only regained the land they had lost in the year X, but had even expanded the territory of the country and that this was good, magnificent, and glorious. The students were to remember X, Y and Z and that neighbors are the enemy that lurks in our lands but whom we were able to defeat in an admirable way. Discussion, asking questions about the meaning of these events, about the losses, about the suffering, were highly inadvisable, because they could sow doubt in the noble goal of implanting in the students’ consciousness that our nation is better and stronger. All this was done in order to raise an obedient, punitive society, used to blindly follow the orders of the ruler. Thus, any signs of independent thinking were suppressed. Humiliation, public ridicule and corporal punishment were used to break individualism and independent thinking. Such educated societies were a perfect breeding ground for the power-blinded, world-conquering individuals like Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini. All it took was a spark for societies to repeat mindless slogans and go into battle at the command of their leader in order to deserve glory to be written on the pages of history.

At that very time, in 1968, the International Baccalaureate Organization was founded in Geneva to develop new requirements for the baccalaureate as an examination of true maturity. The classical Baccalaureate was designed to test whether students answered questions according to a predetermined key, and whether they obediently and correctly solved tasks. The International Baccalaureate, on the other hand, was supposed to check whether students have a wide horizon of thought, whether they have their own opinions, their own thoughts, whether they are able to reason and look at a problem from all sides, whether they are able to verify the information they have heard, whether they are open-minded and are able to search for sources on their own and critically analyse them, whether they are able to communicate with people from other cultures, listen, cooperate and convince. Of course, this required knowledge, competences, skills and, above all, independent thinking. To enable teachers to achieve this, an IB student profile was developed, i.e. a set of 10 qualities that had to be revealed and strengthened in students, and the entire methodology, i.e. a recipe for how to teach high school students, was collected in recommendations called the Diploma Programme. The school had the right to use the programme and the IB logo only after successful certification.

The IBO’s motto is „Today learners, tomorrow leaders

– The goal of educating positive leaders of a modern, peaceful world was the goal for the founders and propagators of the IBO idea. Of course the beginnings were not easy, but the methodology was planted in several high schools, mainly in Switzerland. As time went by, more and more schools and countries became convinced of the idea of the International Baccalaureate, and more and more high schools began to offer classes in the Diploma Programme, making it possible to take the International Baccalaureate. This movement was supported by great people, for example artists from Pink Floyd sang in the famous song “Another Brick In The Wall” beginning with the words “When we grew up and went to school, there were certain teachers who would hurt the children anyway they could…”. They criticized the traditional, repressive school system; including through the words: “Teachers, leave those kids alone!”

A drop was beating the rock!

IBO development

The first graduates of IB schools were successful, and were appreciated at universities as excellent students with strong competencies and open minds. As mature people, they could not imagine their children being educated in traditional schools. This catalyzed the creation of more IB schools and the world saw the rise of a modern elite who did not have as their goal the domination of the lower classes of society, but were filled with the desire to build a more equal, sustainable and peaceful world. It soon became apparent that 2 years in high school was not enough time to change the mindset of any young person who had gone through the grinder of a dozen years of traditional education. So the Middle Years Programme was born, a recipe for education in the spirit of the IBO for students aged 11 to 16. After a few years, the Primary Years Programme was published – the last missing piece of the puzzle of modern international education – a working methodology for children from 3 to 12 years old according to the IBO philosophy.

IBO in today’s world

Half a century after its founding, the IBO is a foundation of more than 4,500 certified schools worldwide that share the philosophy of international education, all of which can be found at ibo.org. It is still an organization independent from governments and corporations. It is supported by fees paid by schools, so it does not have to bow to any political or business pressure, which ensures the objectivity of the transferred knowledge and experience. Another hundreds of schools are pursuing certification for specific programs.

International Baccalaureate Diploma holders are highly valued at universities around the world. For example, in the U.S. at many state universities they are admitted immediately to the second year of study because of their high level of knowledge and competence. A great achievement of the IBO is the conclusion of agreements with almost all countries in the world on the acceptance of teaching methodology in national schools and the recognition of the International Baccalaureate as equivalent to the national secondary school final examination. Poland is one of these countries.

About half of IB schools are elite, private and expensive institutions. However, the other half are public schools, mostly located in the US, where the government co-finances the introduction of the IBO methodology.

Today the ghost of world war seems unreal, but the world is full of threats to peace. Still many people are unaware of any other way to achieve their goals or acquire resources than violence and domination. Therefore, the world still needs highly educated leaders who can focus attention on solving problems, rise above divisions, and with their openness and sincerity win a wide circle of followers.

International education in Poland

Of course, the Eastern Block had no chance to interact with the IBO until 1989. The Communist leadership maintained the raising of hordes of obedient, no-questions-asked workers, clerks, and soldiers as the main goal of education in schools. Joseph Stalin was the father of the concept of antagonizing citizens, encouraging them to spy on each other, report on their neighbors. Schools were designed to work on this by introducing competition and distrust between students. Fortunately, our innate national rebelliousness prevented this plan from being fully realized, but to this day we can see how populists are able to capture large groups of society by turning them against each other.

After 1989, private schools were often associated with a place where spoiled children of the rich were pushed from class to class with their parents’ money – of course, this was not always true, but the distrust of “privateers” and “capitalists” sown by the communist system took its toll.

Today, when Poles and people from other Central and Eastern European countries came into contact with international teams, went beyond the borders of their country or region, interest in international education has grown tremendously. Now we can see how much our children can gain if we work on their openness to the world from an early age, their ability to communicate freely in English, their ability to work in multinational teams to solve multidisciplinary problems. Many people have experienced how pleasant it is to work in a team led by a person educated in one of the elite schools in the West. Today, our children also have the opportunity to receive the same education at certified IB schools, which is a great foundation for further development and fulfillment in life.