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The why, what and how of enhancing the Career-related Programme: Part 1

The International Baccalaureate’s Career-related Programme (CP) provides students with the opportunity to engage in career-related learning alongside their academic studies. CP students gain transferable and lifelong skills in applied knowledge, critical thinking, communication, and cross-cultural engagement.

The IB celebrated ten years of CP just last year (2022). During the celebrations, the effectiveness of the programme was reviewed, considering it was ten years since its inception. An opportunity to enhance the CP core components presented itself.

The CP core currently consists of:

  • Personal and professional skills
  • Service learning
  • Reflective Project
  • Language Development

CP students also study at least two Diploma Programme (DP) academic courses, and their chosen career-related study – providing them with a combination of academic and practical skills.

For this first blog in a three-part series we spoke with Chantell Wyten, Senior Curriculum Manager for CP at the IB, about why the CP core needs to be enhanced. Future blogs in this series will outline what will be changing and how schools and students will benefit from the changes.

Why enhance the CP core?

Each IB programme is designed to meet the unique needs of the students it serves. The core of the CP has four components which complement each other and serve to develop the whole learner. Particularly beneficial is the transfer of knowledge and skills between the core, the student’s selected DP subjects and also the Career-related Study (CRS). Through digesting school and alumni feedback, it became evident that an ‘enhancement’ of the CP core components would be timely to support more purposeful implementation of the core across the whole CP, which will lead to even greater student outcomes.

How were the core enhancements decided?

With the support of a highly engaged group of CP administrators and educators, representative of the programme’s diverse contexts and needs, we undertook a review of the programme’s core components. We always have a participatory approach to curriculum review and design by conducting surveys, focus groups and interviews with CP stakeholders. To realize the goals set down in this part of the curriculum review, the second stage of affirming these changes took place through a series of virtual and face-to-face development meetings. These meetings included educators, alumni, and colleagues from within the IB. Through processes that included design challenges, collaborative idea formation, dialogues and consensus building, the review has moved closer to delivering enhanced pedagogies, clarified assessments and new support materials. The outcome of ongoing development work will be an enhanced CP core, for first teaching in August of 2025.

What kind of changes can be expected?

The type and extent of changes differs per component, but the design mindset has always been considerate of the total amount of change schools and educators may be required to take on board for 2025. Through careful consideration, informed by a wide range of CP practitioners and CP alumni, the changes were conceived to be ‘enhancements’ as the intention is to improve teacher and student experience of the core. The changes will include removing any redundant content and offering clarifications, or up-to-date methodologies, so that the enhanced core will be even more beneficial and meaningful for schools as they implement the programme for students of the future.

Useful resources

IB educators can view the most recent reports on the curriculum review, which outline the planned enhancements for each component, on the Programme Resource Centre (PRC).

To find out more about becoming a CP school visit the IB website.