The Diploma Programme: The core plus 6 subjects

Diploma Programme students are in their final two years at high school in the International Baccalaureate and range between 17 – 19 years old at Hout Bay International School. Their curriculum is comprised of 6 subjects – much like Matric for South African schools. Where the programme most obviously differs however, is in the additional studies known as ‘the core’ which DP students need to graduate, as well as passing their 6 subject choices.

What is the core?

Rather than be extra curricula, the core is, as the name suggests, a foundation from which a student’s six subjects are built and a platform for the unique approaches to learning and teaching of the International Baccalaureate.

It is made up of a foundational subject, the Theory of Knowledge (TOK); the Extended Essay (EE) – much like a mini thesis; and CAS – Creativity, Activity and Service – which often encompasses a form of community service.

These components of the curriculum are completed over the two years of the DP and are mandatory for all students.

Why is the core so important?

The International Baccalaureate is centred on developing individuals who are not simply academics but have a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond this, and ultimately prepare them for how to best use their knowledge after graduation. This principle is summarised in the IB Learner Profile. The core ensures DP students are equipped with best practices to not simply be fed information in their subject classes but rather to be critical thinkers who can be innovative in the world outside of the classroom with their knowledge as a toolkit.

Learn more about TOK, the Extended Essay and CAS in upcoming articles.

The Diploma Programme and the core