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OIB vv IB the differences between the 2 Baccalaureates for the English Section in France

In the article we explain the differences between the Option Internationale du Baccalauréat (OIB) and the International Baccalaureat (IB) when taken with the English Language option.

The Option Internationale du Baccalauréat

The OIB is a French Bac with an International Option that can be taken in the Literature, Economics and Science or Science streams and can only be prepared by the International sections. It is based on partnerships between the French Ministry of Education and a number of foreign authorities.

The French Bac in itself covers 8 or 9 subjects to a very high level.

I found this excellent resource which explains the different Bac Streams E, ES, S .. the importance and weighting given to different subjects within the stream. BAC Streams on Wiki

Obviously you need to remember to factor in the International option.

The Lycéen takes all the exams linked to their stream except for the foreign language element they are taking as their International option and the history-geography element which has a specific exam.

The course is regulated by the French Education department.

Students that take and pass their OIB will have a French Bac that can be used to secure a place in French Further education and also will have an Internationally recognised accreditation in the chosen Language option for the history and geography.

As this is taught to a standard and examined to the level of A levels in the UK ( AP in the USA) the OIB also opens the doors to higher education back in their home country .

The American OIB is administered by the College Entrance Examination Board as well as the Franco-American Commission ( in Paris, in cooperation with the French Inspection Générale.

"Typically the programme will have a substantial list of American authors, but students study Shakespeare and other British writers as well as world literature, poetry, creative writing and non-fiction. For the History-Geography subjects , there is a wide spectrum of topics covered including the UK and the Industrial Revolution.

As students move toward Terminale, the program does place a heavy emphasis on the US."

The British Section OIB is jointly planned, marked and certified but the Ministry of Education in France and the University of Cambridge International Examinations.

As with the Hist-Geo syllabuses in England they cover world history and geography and literature from both continents.

The OIB is a dual curriculum and there are extra hours added to their weekly schedule. Students have to be able to work hard, manage their time well, project manage and prioritse work loads.

Essays must be written to a very high standard in all streams .

Universities everywhere value these qualities and so admissions tutos in France the UK and US do frequently reduce the entrance requirements for students holidng and OIB as opposed to the straight bac.

Locally in the Alpes Maritimes the International sections have chosen to follow different programmes with Fenelon in Grasse choosing the British OIB and part of the ASIBA ( and ASEICA choosing the American Section OIB curriculum for the CIV College Lycée de Valbonne in Sophia Antipolis.

The OIB can be taken with the following language options: German, American, Arab, British, Chinese, Danish, Spanish, Italian, Japonese, Dutch, Polish, Pourtuguise, Russian and Swedish.

See here for details on all the Lycées offering the OIB in France.


The International Baccalaureat Organisation

The IB Organisation proposes 3 different programmes for students aged three to 19 years:

- the Primary Years Programme

- the Middle Years Programme

- the Diploma

Taught in either English, French and/or Spanish this is a popular diploma for foreign students living abroad. Taking an Internationally accepted qualification helps gain entrance into higher education back in their country of origin.

It is worth noting that from a French perspective, the IB is considered to be a foreign diploma and therefore unlike the OIB, access to French further education courses is not automatic. The presiding dean of the prospected education establishment would need to grant access.

Students select 6 subjects ; 3 at a standard level and 3 at a higher level from subject groups.

The choice must include a 2nd language, maths and a science.

Creative and performing arts are encouraged with this programme.

The IB is offered in the International School of Nice and EBICA.

Official IBO website HERE



The OIB can be taken with the following language options: German, American, Arab, British, Chinese, Danish, Spanish, Italian, Japonese, Dutch, Polish, Pourtuguise, Russian and Swedish.

The IB is currently taught in English, French and Spanish,

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