There is a growing body of research suggesting that schools need to respond to changing social and economic dynamics by prioritising "21st-century skills". Proponents of this view, who have been termed "the 21st century skills movement", have called for greater emphasis on cognitive and non-cognitive skills development, alongside the learning of subject content and technical skills. This paper explores the potential of International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) schools to respond to this mandate in China, one of the fastest-growing markets for International Baccalaureate® (IB) schools globally. The authors' research team undertook a multi-site case study of five elite IBDP schools in China. Their findings revealed confidence among interviewees that the IB educational philosophy was conducive to 21st-century skills development, especially through the provision of the three IBDP "Core Requirements", which are Creativity, Action, Service (CAS), Extended Essay (EE) and Theory of Knowledge (TOK). Despite this confidence, concerns remain about the implementation of the IB educational philosophy in the context of IBDP schools in China.
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Acknowledgement While we conducted this research as an independent research team, we appreciate the financial support of the International Baccalaureate® (IB) for this research project. We also appreciate the insight comments of the anonymous reviewers and Prof. Lene Buchert, the editor of this special issue, and the editorial suggestions of Maya Kiesselbach.
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