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Upskilling for Success in University and the Marketplace of the Future

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The IB Diploma is renowned globally as the most highly esteemed pre-university program for students ages 16-19. It is also the only curriculum offering the skills our students need for the twenty-first century. The International School of Penang (Uplands) is proud to be the only school providing this prestigious program in all of Penang. The value of the IB DP was confirmed yet again at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting held in January.

How do we upskill a billion people by 2030?

This question was a focus at the WEF this year. The workforce needs to evolve to meet the demands of the new marketplace and make the most of its opportunities. The WEF asserted that the capacity for upskilling is now the most important trait employers and employees alike will need to continue to thrive. Upskilling cannot be limited to a certain skillset in a certain field; upskilling itself is a skill. Successful employers and employees in the future will need the “soft skills” that underpin upskilling. (www.weforum.org)

“The soft skills—leadership, adaptability, how to translate feedback into measurable change—are what make the short-term skills training more long-lasting and transformative. People are looking to leaders to provide a trusted path forward… They need to learn how to lead in fast-changing times, empower people and create a culture of lifelong learning where entrepreneurship will thrive.”

(World Economic Forum 2020)

Enter the IB DP, the only pre-university program specifically designed to create the leaders the WEF envisions, with collaboration, innovation, and resilience at its center and integrated throughout.

First, the Learner Profile is at the center of the IB DP. IB DP students are internationally-minded inquirers, thinkers, risk-takers, and communicators. These attributes of the Learner Profile are synonymous with the “soft skills” the WEF discussed and central to the development of every student in the IB DP.

The IB DP Core is the most unique aspect of the program, and the one which universities say adds the most value to IB students in their undergraduate studies. (www.ibo.org/research) Made up of three components, the Core broadens students’ experience and challenges them to apply their knowledge and skills. In Theory of Knowledge, students explore how we know what we claim to know. The Extended Essay is an independent research project, finishing with a 4,000-word paper. In Creativity, Activity, Service, students undertake experiences and a project in those three strands.

Finally, the IB subjects are organized and taught to encourage investigation, synthesis, and personal engagement. Memorization and formulas play little role in the advanced coursework students undertake. IB DP students find themselves well ahead of their peers in their first year of university thanks to the depth and breadth of their preparation in 6 subjects.

“The IB is a 4.0 education in a 1.0 world,” says Dr Siva Kumari, the IB’s Director General. “The IB prepares the students to be the creators of the algorithm rather than the consumers of the algorithm.”


Do you want to be ready for the dynamic world of the future, poised for success in the global marketplace? The IB Diploma Programme Scholarship at The International School of Penang (Uplands) will provide up to 6 students the opportunity to gain these key skills and ensure entrance to their universities of choice. Uplands is the only school in Penang offering this prestigious program. Apply now!

The value of the Scholarship offered on tuition costs will be determined on an individual basis and will be discussed with the individual applicant during the selection process. We have a maximum of 3 internal and 3 external Scholarships to offer students. Visit Uplands/IBSchoolBursaries for the scholarship information and boarding facilities.


Quotes from our current scholars:

“The scholarship has given me the confidence to better myself in academics and my interpersonal skills all whilst enabling me to deepen my appreciation for Uplands as my community.”

Chloe (Year 13)

“To me, the IB scholarship is a privilege and offers a real sense of accomplishment.”

Daniel (Year 13)

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