The High School at VIU receives International Baccalaureate authorization

The High School building at Vancouver Island University

The High School at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo.

Photo: Vancouver Island University

May 29, 2023 - 11:45am

The school is the only International Baccalaureate program in Canada that is part of a university.

A globally recognized secondary school diploma program is coming to The High School at Vancouver Island University (VIU).

The school has now received International Baccalaureate (IB) authorization, an internationally recognized program that aims to prepare students for success at university. The High School will offer the two-year Diploma Programme for Grades 11 and 12 students. This program requires student to do independent research and take on a project that often involves community service.

“The program is excellent preparation for university and for life,” said Catherine Brazier, principal at The High School. “These are academic and life skills people sometimes forget also need to be taught, particularly for first-year university students who can hit a wall trying to manage it all. IB students learn these skills so that when they come to university, they have a full toolkit and get the most out of their experience.”

Brazier said IB authorization has long been a dream for the school and the timing couldn’t be better.

“There has been a strengthened connection with VIU and a real valuing of what The High School can contribute,” she said. “Being an internationally diverse school is also a beautiful context for bringing this in. Students can talk to one another about cultural and geographic differences that impact their values, beliefs and knowledge.”

The High School will be an “IB philosophy” school overall, and there won’t be a separate application process, explained Brazier.

“There will be a focus on preparing Grade 10 students for the rigours of the IB program should they decide that’s what they want to do,” she said.

To get a final IB diploma in addition to a BC Dogwood diploma, students are required to write IB exams in their Grade 12 year if they choose to go this route.

“Part of the application process will be having a conversation with students and their families to ensure they understand what they are getting into,” said Brazier. “IB is not intended to be exclusive, but it is intended to be challenging, so while we’ll continue to offer high levels of support, we also look for students who want to work hard and challenge themselves.”

Looking ahead, Brazier is excited by the opportunities the IB program gives The High School for even more collaboration with VIU.

“We are the only IB school in Canada that is part of a university and I’ve had nothing but positive response from the VIU community about this,” she said. “I’m also excited about how energized and excited our staff are. I think that’s the biggest thing because when you have excited educators, that’s when the magic happens,” 

The High School at Vancouver Island University logo



Eric Zimmer, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.618.7296 | E: | T: @VIUNews

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