ICSE Vs CBSE – Battle of the Boards


Right from the time, a child gets enrolled in academics, parents are concerned about choosing the right kind of board to help their child excel. After all, the choice of a board does make a difference in the life of a child.  Two of the most recognised boards within the Indian education system are namely ICSE and CBSE, where the academic system is split into primary, secondary and senior secondary levels respectively. Each level plays an important role in contributing to building one’s career and usher in significant achievements along the way.

The question remains-Which board is better for your child and how does one go about choosing the right board? One should know that both the boards are different in their curriculum and is diversified and can never be clubbed together in terms of the contents of the syllabus.

ICSE Vs CBSE – The Curriculum

The CBSE board strictly follows the national curriculum with the prescribed subjects and other additional subjects as well. As such, the board conducts two different examinations namely All India Secondary School Examination, AISSE (Class X) and the All India Senior School Certificate Examination, AISSCE (Class XII). CBSE is also recognised by NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) who also control and operate the renowned school chain of Kendriya Vidyalaya. As such, CBSE boarding schools are an excellent choice for a family where the breadwinner is in a transferable job and has to shift for one city to another.

Quite a good number of private schools have also started to follow CBSE curriculum lately keeping in mind thee needs to transfer for both govt as well as private-sector employees. The CBSE syllabus itself is well structured, controlled and all the way predictable. All national level examinations are conducted following the CBSE syllabus.

On the other hand, we have the ICSE board that is governed and controlled by CISCE or the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination. Its curriculum is quite similar to AISSE, conducted by CBSE. In essence, ICSE happens to be an offshoot right from the Cambridge IGCSE which has its roots way back during the British Raj. Needless to say, that ICSE as a board has borrowed a lot of stuff from NCERT. At the 10th grade, it is seemingly one of the toughest board exams in the country to crack, owing to the detailed syllabus, as compared to CBSE.

ICSE Vs CBSE – Medium of Instruction

CBSE allows for both English as well as Hindi medium of study whereas ICSE doesn’t support Hindi medium of study, although Hindi as a subject is a part of ICSE. A lot of leading schools in the country is affiliated to CBSE and allows both regular as well as private candidates from other non-affiliated schools to appear for the board exams. Whereas, ICSE board doesn’t encourage or allow a candidate to sit for board exams unless he has studied in an affiliated school in regular mode.

ICSE Vs CBSE – Recognition of Board

CBSE as a board is readily recognised by the government of India where ICSE is not. Nevertheless, the school leaving certificates and mark sheets issued by both the boards are valid globally. Comparatively, CBSE has a much better footing compared to ICSE board at the sub-continent level. Reportedly, ISCE is also recognised by quite a few foreign universities and subsequent education

ICSE Vs CBSE – Suitability

The syllabus that is followed by CBSE School in Siliguri is seemingly more suitable compared to ICSE in terms of qualifying several different entrance examinations, which includes engineering as well as medical exams. Comparatively, the syllabus of ICSE is a detailed one and thus requires a student to memorize a lot.

No matter what, both the boards are focussed differently when it comes to course content. While CBSE is more oriented towards picking on the attributes of science and maths and subsequent application of the knowledge at a practical level, ICSE gives equal importance to other subjects that include arts and humanities.

Another vital point of distinction between ICSE and CBSE is the evaluation and hence the assessment of students. Students regard their internal assessments to be a vital one since the practical exams of ICSE board are also aggregated with the overall score. Also, ICSE gives great emphasis on lab work compared to CBSE.

ICSE Vs CBSE – The Teaching Methodology

In recent years, both the boards, ICSE and CBSE have restricted their curriculum with special focus on active learning. Reportedly, both the boards have adopted new found modes of preaching that helps students learn through active interaction and experimentation compared to what one would refer to as one-way teaching. In terms of academic luxuries, CBSE is a bit stringent.

ICSE Board, on the other hand, puts students first and offers full scope to explore their needs and wants and encourages them to pursue a career of their liking with subjects like Computer Science, Environmental Science and even creative field like interior designing across certain institutions.

While both the boards have their own set of pros and cons, it’s only viable to say that they co-exist and function as a vital part of the Indian Academic System.

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