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With the start of a child’s academic life, the parents have to make the important decision of choosing the right board of education. The competition is mostly between CBSE and ICSE, the two major educational boards of the country. The kind of knowledge gained by the student, and the difference in aptitude level of both the boards requires some analysis before making a choice.


Both the Boards are different in their own way in terms of their working, the curriculum and the overall development of the child.

The Central Board of Secondary Education follows the national curriculum and conducts two exams: the All India Secondary School Examination (Class X Board exams) and the All India Senior School Certificate Examination (Class XII Boards). The CBSE follows the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) framework and covers a network of Kendriya Vidyalayas (Central Schools) all over the country.

CBSE is mostly aimed at government employees who have a transferable job and need to move from one city to another. Now, a lot of private schools are also offering the syllabus to cater to the needs of private sector employees who also shift cities.

The ICSE is under the Council for Indian School Certificate Examination, whose roots go back to the Cambridge IGSCE which was present in the British Era. CISCE is recognized by a lot of foreign educational systems, and the ICSE certificates are accepted by most schools and colleges abroad. That way, it is beneficial for parents who have to move outside India for work.


  • ICSE has a more balanced syllabus and aims at the overall development of the child. Curriculum wise, the ICSE syllabus is much more comprehensive and detailed, and focuses on detailed study of each subject.
  • The ICSE students perform better in scholarship examinations that are based on English, because the level of education matches international standards. A career in English Literature is more suited for students who have studied from the ICSE Board. ICSE does not recommend Hindi as the medium of instruction.
  •  ICSE has a restriction on students from non-ICSE affiliated schools, not allowing them to sit for their examinations.
  •  Though both ICSE and CBSE provide certificates that have a value all around the world, ICSE is not recognized by the Government.
  •  ICSE board stresses on overall development, and is ideal for students who plan to opt for literature or management courses. They also have a lot of subject combinations to offer, giving students more diverse options to choose from.




  • The CBSE board is affiliated to a large number of schools throughout India. For government employees and people who have transferable jobs, it is the better option.
  • The CBSE syllabus is highly predictable and gives more importance to Science and Mathematics.
  • The syllabus is suited for the various engineering and medical entrance examinations like the IIT-JEE, AIEEE and AIPMT. The syllabus is considered easier than ICSE, and more impetus is given to applied knowledge.
  • CBSE approves both English and Hindi as the medium of instructions in class and examinations.
  • CBSE offers more number of talent search and scholarship exams for students.

The selection of the right board and school is instrumental in giving children the required exposure and making them well-rounded individuals. The selection is a tough one, as both Boards have pros and cons. CBSE board is easier to find if you move to a new place, but ICSE is given more preference in some states of India. It is important to weigh the merits and demerits, and take a calculated decision.

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CBSE vs ICSE: Which Board To Choose?

3 thoughts on “CBSE vs ICSE: Which Board To Choose?

  • February 24, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Apart from these tangible differences, I have found that kids studying in ICSE pattern are put into rigorous learning method. Whereas CBSE is bit relaxed and applied learning. So, for parents CBSE goes easy. ICSE parents have to struggle to keep up the pace.
    The ICSE schools, and perhaps the board, are very stringent on the writing style, thought pattern etc. So, when compared academically, ICSE kids over-smart CBSE. However, a twisted question puts them in doubtful position.
    As for International standard goes, Indian curriculum is tough than US and Europe. So, ISCE or CBSE, both are equally appreciated. I have seen parents coming to India complain about the toughness Indian education system has rather than the parents going out of India.

    • February 24, 2016 at 10:07 pm

      I’m thankful for the details you have given about the difference between CBSE and ICSE.

  • March 7, 2016 at 12:13 am

    Thanks, very useful info. It is mentioned that ICSE is not recognized by the government, does this affect anyway in the future of the child or ICSE certificate will not considered for any government purposes. Could someone can clarify this doubt. Thanks


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