University of Cambridge

Exporting the Baccalaureate to France

11/04/2011

While the EnglishBaccalaureate gathers momentum and launches a thousand blog articles, a British baccalaureate is also growing…in France.

The Baccalaureate with International Option (OIB) was developed as a special version of the French Baccalaureate, based on partnerships between the French Ministry of Education and a number of foreign authorities. It is not a separate diploma but rather a specialisation within the framework of the French ‘bac’.

And there’s a British version. To get it, students in France doing the traditional French Baccalaureate take a History-Geography course (taught bilingually) and English Language and Literature, and sit written and oral papers in English.

The British version of the French baccalaureate is now well established. The French Ministry of Education has been offering it for 25 years with University of Cambridge International Examinations – known in the UK for Cambridge IGCSE and Cambridge Pre-U.

Cambridge works with around 40 governments worldwide, but exporting a baccalaureate to the French has until now gone unnoticed in the UK.

Peter Woodburn, Head of the English National Programme at the Lycée International de Ferney-Voltaire, and Schools’ Chair of the British OIB Schools Group, said:
“Pupils in the OIB sections in France are educated in two languages that are used side by side for rigorous academic work. The range of subjects, the movement between languages, and the double cultural approach is enormously enriching.

“Pupils see this as a source of transferable skills and flexibility, of confidence, and, quite simply, of meaning. More subtle sense can be made of the world, it seems, when the learner can choose the cultural point-of-view to see it from. One former OIB student put it simply: ‘The OIB developed my critical thinking and the way I made choices.’ “

Ann Puntis, Chief Executive, University of Cambridge International Examinations, said:

“The collaboration on the British OIB is an outstanding example of the way that University of Cambridge International Examinations has always worked with partners overseas to create programmes and qualifications to suit particular purposes.”

– ends –

Notes to editors

About University of Cambridge International Examinations

University of Cambridge International Examinations is the world’s largest provider of international education programmes and qualifications for 5-19 year olds. Our qualifications are taken in over 160 countries and recognised by universities, education providers and employers across the world.

We are part of the Cambridge Assessment Group, a not-for-profit organisation and a department of the University of Cambridge. We share in their mission of providing excellence in education.

Our programmes and qualifications develop successful learners and support the economic performance of countries where we work at national level.

About the Option internationale du Baccalauréat (OIB)

The OIB was developed as a special version of the French Baccalaureate, based on partnerships between the French Ministry of Education and a number of foreign authorities. It is not a separate diploma but rather a specialization within the framework of the French ‘bac’. To obtain the British version of the OIB, students must supplement the traditional French Baccalaureate with a History-Geography course (taught bilingually) and English Language and Literature; both subjects are assessed through written and oral papers in English.

In Britain, the examining partner has always been University of Cambridge International Examinations. Cambridge oversees the subjects taught and examined in English, following English educational practices, within French schools and as an integral part of the baccalaureate.

Close and extended cooperation is needed to ensure that the subjects taught fulfill baseline baccalaureate requirements, as well as matching A Level standards. Cambridge has long experience of working with its partner in France, the Ministry of Education, to make this exciting and respected qualification something that increasing numbers of bilingual candidates can take.

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