Developing skills for youth in the 21st century: The role of elite International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme schools in China

International Review of Education 60 (2):199-216 (2014)

Authors
Ewan Wright
University of Hong Kong
Abstract
There is a growing body of research suggesting that schools need to respond to changing social and economic dynamics by prioritising “21st-century skills”. Proponents of this view, who have been termed “the 21st century skills movement”, have called for greater emphasis on cognitive and non-cognitive skills development, alongside the learning of subject content and technical skills. This paper explores the potential of International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) schools to respond to this mandate in China, one of the fastest-growing markets for International Baccalaureate® (IB) schools globally. The authors’ research team undertook a multi-site case study of five elite IBDP schools in China. Their findings revealed confidence among interviewees that the IB educational philosophy was conducive to 21st-century skills development, especially through the provision of the three IBDP “Core Requirements”, which are Creativity, Action, Service (CAS), Extended Essay (EE) and Theory of Knowledge (TOK). Despite this confidence, concerns remain about the implementation of the IB educational philosophy in the context of IBDP schools in China.
Keywords 21st-century skills  International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP)  Elite schools  China
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