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CBSE, ICSE, IB, State board - What you must know about school boards in India


India has primarily 4 boards of school education, namely CBSE, ICSE, State boards and IB. Here we discuss in detail the definition and salient features of each of these. 

board of education in India - CBSE, ICSE, IB and state board


ICSE board:

At the start let me tell you that ICSE board commonly used misnomer. There is nothing like an ICSE board. Rather, the CBSE equivalent here is the Council of Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE). It is a private body that was founded in year 1956 to set and adapt University of Cambridge’s examination system to India. This body now conducts 3 examinations, namely  


  • ICSE (Indian certificate secondary education) exam for class 10
  • ISC (Indian school certificate) exam for class 12
  • CVE (Certificate for vocational education) exam for class 12


The CISCE board has equal focus on languages, science and art and encourages students to choose across diverse topics / subjects for their Class-12 exam. Main benefits of CISCE are


  • Wide recognition of board results across colleges in India and even abroad
  • Equal focus – language, art and science
  • More choice and freedom to students in deciding final subjects
  • Reasonably prevalent across India


CBSE board:

Central board of secondary education (CBSE) is the most popular school board in India with over 9000 CBSE affiliated schools in the country and presence in 21 nations across the globe.  The stress in this board is on application of Science and Maths related subjects.  Main benefits of going for a CBSE affiliated school are


  • Easy to find new schools in any area, even abroad, due to wide prevalence of the board
  • Wide recognition of board results across all colleges in India, as compared to other boards
  • Recent overhaul of teaching approach and curriculum has made the content relevant 
  • Easy to find tutors, books and activities for all classes
  • Focus on Science and Maths as well as application based subjects


State boards:

As the name suggests, each state has its own board of education that conducts certificate examination for class 10 and class 12. Some state boards, such as Rajasthan board also conduct exams in class 8. The benefits are


  • Reasonably prevalent within the state
  • Topics and content of local relevance 
  • Usually cheaper schools

However, should you choose state board schools is an altogtether different question. 


International Baccalaureate (IB) is a non profit educational foundation that was founded in 1968 and now works with over 3000 schools in 141 countries.  The board is gaining prevalence in high end new schools in India. Currently limited to the metro and large Tier-I cites in India. As per them, their vision is on all round development of the student into an inquiring, caring and knowledgeable young individual. IB offers innovative learning program and teaching approaches to achieve its stated objective. The main benefits of this are


  • Innovative curriculum
  • Very different and stress free teaching methods
  • Focus on all round development rather than pure academic performance
  • Wide acceptance across the world 


This is just a start. But more interesting would be to find out how do these school boards compare and contrast with each other. Which is the most suitable board for your child. We will start off this exercising by answering -  which is better - CBSE or ICSE board. We will also be looking in details at finding the steps involved in finding the right school and more. Join us on facebook to stay updated about our latest research and publications as well as offers and promotions. 


If you have learnt something new by reading this article or found it useful, please do leave your feedback below and +1 it on google or like it on facebook. 



Comments (26) -

business directory said:

Another articulate post. You know, I am truly delighted I found this. I'll digg your blog post so my buddies can read your writing too!

rajkumar said:

This is Informative in brief. It will help aspiring parents to select the right board for their kids.

shilpa said:

really really helpful. thanx a ton Smile

anuja dutta said:

I want to play the games

Vimal said:


It is very useful and my doubts have been cleared.


Deepika said:

Very informative. But could have provided more information in depth to make parents understand the difference in the board syllabus.

mgmt consultant said:

Great work

K Suresh Kumar said:

Very useful information.

Aalisha said:

this is very short introduction.I think more information is required for better understanding.

puni said:

Good need more information in brief,  regarding preference

shobha said:

the info is short and crisp

Laxmana said:

ITs really very useful

admin said:

Thank you Laxman. Glad that you found this article useful. Let us know if there are other resources / information that you are looking for.

Prashant said:

The syllabus of the CBSE is better manageable than that of other boards like ICSE/ISC (Indian Council for Secondary Education). Although a broad-based syllabus is generally perceived to be good, since it has a focused approach, it increases the load on students, thus leading to stress. A student should be given the option of studying only the basics of the language if his/her interests lie elsewhere. This choice is given in CBSE, not in ICSE/ISC.
1. Unlike in ISC, the CBSE syllabus is presented in a more scientific manner. The entire syllabus is divided into units and every unit is allotted the number of periods required to cover it in the year and also the weight age of marks it will carry in the examination. Thus, the teacher and student can plan the study of the various segments of the syllabus accordingly.
2. The examination pattern of entrance examinations (IIT-JEE & PMT) follows that of CBSE since CBSE conducts these examinations. This puts those ISC students who are interested in competitive examinations at a disadvantage as they need to reorient themselves to a different system. As ICSE also has no role to play in the above.
3. The ICSE syllabus especially for higher standards is very heavy compared to that of CBSE. ICSE has two papers in English, whereas CBSE has only one. ICSE has three papers in Science (Physics, Chemistry & Biology) whereas CBSE has only one. ICSE has two papers in Social Studies (History & Geography) whereas CBSE has only one.
4. Environmental Education is compulsory at the ICSE & ISC examinations whereas this is not so at the CBSE examination. CISCE, in a panic reaction to Supreme Court ruling regarding Environmental Education, rushed into it while CBSE is content to wait a review of this ruling where the matter may be either dropped or modified.
5. CBSE will give only grades in the examination results. This is seen as a progressive move. ICSE has not made such an announcement as yet.
6. CISCE has no academically designed process or programme for syllabi revision/upgradation, unlike CBSE which has syllabus reviewed on an ongoing basis.
7. It is a myth that ICSE is well recognized all over the world and not CBSE. Now UCAS (Universities & Colleges Admissions Service- Central organisation through which applications are processed for entry to higher education) recognizes CBSE at par with ISC.
8. CBSE students also seem to have an edge over other students when it comes to taking theUPSC administrative service examinations, such as the IAS and the IPS. However, when it comes to taking up entrance exams outside of India, for example SAT and TOEFL, teachers seem to recommend the ICSE syllabus over CBSE. In the ICSE syllabus, there’s a clear emphasis on English and its literature.

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Prashant said:

Have gone thru the entire forum, there are many In-depth analysis and very clear explanation for all the basic questions and concerns with respect to CBSE and ISCE (CISCE) 1.  Difference in Examination Board, syllabus, Language, method of teaching, learning process, examination patterns, advantage in competitive examination and abroad gateway. Yes, just by going thru this entire forum, thinking of an Ideal Kid, It’s very clear that ISCE is best of schools. If we go by practical and logical though process, we have to consider the below before taking the decision
1.  What does u prefer for your child? Like an entrepreneur or an employee? If you think education is not for bread and butter and you are not depended on any professional employment, you can choose the Ideal Kid option
2.  Current nature of Job? Here if you need to stick to the same board then there may be much hindrance if you choose ISCE, since you can’t be choosy w.r.t to the location preference in any city. Again if your job is stable you can choose any.
3.  If you have clear abroad travel plan (Either for Child education or for your carrier) In this scenario the best option is ISCE only
4.  If you don’t want to take any chance in your child education and you have a clear carrier plan for them, at the same time you want to ensure that your child is on par with any best of the rest, you can just go by CBSE from any of the Top 10 School in your town.
5.  The above all is based on how you feel your kid to evolve after 12 years form today, To materialize this you have 40% responsibility as a parents (Our family culture, the way we live, the world that we show them, even the Movie/TV channels we watch, the paper we read, the friends we have and the discipline we follow. Again It’s not about teaching )
To conclude the above suggestion is purely based on my understanding and my own back ground. Each of us has a unique way to look at.

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Laxmi said:

This really helped me. many thanks

Kalindi Shah said:

is there anything called matriculation pattern / board

venugopal said:

s, it is useful gives details, but still ihave some confusions, u said that it is a private body, does it have permission from govt to conduct exams. is the certificates vallied

Azmath Mohamad said:

Great Info, thanks.

Abhishek said:

Good information, however need some more information like pros and cons of each board.

surya chavakula said:

Thanks for the information which is very essential in the competitive era in the education and for to use proper resources for the all round development of the student to stand out best from others.

Brijesh Patel said:

thanks to give me this best information said:

excellent work

jayshree said:

Thanxs info was usefull to understand concepts of boards nd keep updated

Shaily said:

Good info to update us on the present scenario

Shaily said:

Good info to update us on the present scenario of education

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