Diocesan Boys' School (DBS) is preparing to introduce the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme to attract top local and overseas students. The two-year course prepares students for university. The school is planning to launch two IB classes for 60 senior-form students in 2009. The annual tuition fee for the diploma is expected to range from HK$48,000 to HK$58,000 per student, compared with HK$38,000 for the local curriculum. DBS board member Tommy Cheung Yu-yan said many high-achievers had left to study overseas or joined international schools that offered IB programmes. The diploma is recognised by leading universities around the world. Mr Cheung said the IB's introduction would provide more options for parents and students. Under the diploma programme, students have to choose six subjects - one from each of the following areas: two languages, mathematics and computer science, the arts, experimental sciences, and individuals and societies. They must also participate in community activities, write a 4,000-word essay on one of the six subject areas and also take an interdisciplinary subject, Theory of Knowledge. DBS headmaster Terence Chang Cheuk-cheung said five or six teachers at the school are currently being trained for the IB programme. DBS might also recruit overseas teachers for certain subjects, Mr Chang added. Mr Chang said senior-form students could choose the local or IB curriculum. But the diploma would not replace the local syllabus because not all students could handle the new course, which demanded a high level of motivation and openness, he said. It is possible that the elite boys' school will allow female students to take part in the programme. DBS, founded in 1860 as the Diocesan Native Female Training School, stopped admitting girls in 1913 when it was renamed the Diocesan Boys' School. The school hopes to build a new block with accommodation for overseas students.