The number of International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) schools has increased rapidly in China in recent years. However, access to schools offering the IBDP remains restricted to a relatively elite minority of China's population due to enrolment barriers for Chinese nationals and relatively high school fees. An implication is that students potentially remain in physical, cultural and socio-economic isolation from host communities. Within this context, this study explored how, and the extent to which, two core components of the IBDP - namely, the Learner Profile and Creativity, Action, Service - help foster inter-cultural understanding between students and other communities within Chinese society. To this end, in mid 2013 interview data were gathered from IBDP teachers, IBDP administrators, and IBDP students from five elite IBDP schools in Beijing and Shanghai. Findings revealed a perception that the Learner Profile could provide a strong theoretical appreciation of the norms and values of other cultures, while Creativity, Action, Service could break down physical divides by offering students an opportunity to interact with people of different cultures and socio-economic groups. Nevertheless, interviewees also noted tensions with the implementation of these components in the context of results-oriented elite IBDP schools in China.
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