CBSE or ICSE ?In India, every state has its own board of education. Besides the government school boards, children also go to private and public schools affiliated with ICSE, ISC and CBSE Boards. There is also a new breed of IBOs (International Boards) offering high end syllabus of a global standard. These boards though great, charge exorbitant sums as fees and therefore can be afforded by only a select few.

Education is a very essential requirement and the right of every human being. These days, we often find parents debating as to which board they should select for the brilliant and bright future of their children. Considering the fact that majority of the Indian student population goes to either CBSE or ICSE schools, we shall discuss both these boards which have a slightly different syllabus and approach with different area/areas of focus. To facilitate you more, let us check out the salient features of both the ISCE and CBSE education boards.


It was the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) that initiated the CBSE with the sole aim of providing educational opportunities to students whose parents were in government transferable jobs. Keeping this in mind, a chain of central schools (Kendriya Vidyalaya) all over the country was started.

  • The number of schools offering CBSE based education is more compared to the ICSE schools.
  • The CBSE Syllabus is very structured, organized and concise.
  • The best thing about CBSE syllabus is that it keeps on getting updated and revised as per the latest trends in educational sector.
  • All national entrance examinations especially the JEE (for NITs and IITs) are conducted as per this syllabus.
  • The CBSE grants grades instead of marks. It has made it optional for students to take standard10 exam. However, class 12 exam is still mandatory.
  • If you are looking to study in India only, then CBSE is a good option.

CISCE – Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations

“In 1952, an All India Certificate Examinations Conference was held under the Chairmanship of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Minister for Education. The main purpose of the Conference was to consider the replacement of the overseas Cambridge School Certificate Examination by an All India Examination. This set the agenda for the establishment of the Council.

In October 1956 at the meeting of the Inter-State Board for Anglo-Indian Education, a proposal was adopted for the setting up of an Indian Council to administer the University of Cambridge, Local Examinations Syndicate’s Examination in India and, to advise the Syndicate on the best way to adapt its examination to the needs of the country. The inaugural meeting of the Council was held on 3rd November, 1958.

In December 1967, the Council was registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
In 1973, the Council was listed in the Delhi School Education Act 1973, as a body conducting “public” examinations.”
Source: CISCE Official Website
  • Rich and Detailed Syllabus
  • Comprehensive course content compared to simple language and course structure of CBSE
  • Only English medium of instruction.
  • Periodic unit tests, assessments and evaluations.
  • Two Board mandatory examinations:
    a.    ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education) for 10 class and
    b.    ISC for 12 class
  • ICSE Grade-10 is considered as the toughest board examination
  • Emphasis on practical learning via lab and experimental work.
  • Variety of subjects to choose from.
  • Great importance given to honing language skills. CBSE English is way more easy and the syllabus is not as wholesome, vast or enriching compared to the comprehensive international ICSE and ISC syllabus
  • Despite claims that CBSE syllabus for class XII is structured for medical and engineering entrance exams after 12 class, ISC syllabus is equally designed and students do equally well in them. There is no difference.
  • If you are looking to study abroad, ICSE is the best and only option.
  • Overall grooming of the child’s personality is much more effective than what CBSE does.

CBSE or ICSE ?There is an important factor here that we would like to point out to you dear readers. Though the education board is very important, when it comes to choosing the right one, do keep an open mind about the school. The first priority should always be given to the school, the kind of activities it conducts, the teaching staff, student teacher ratio and other such factors should be kept in mind before you make the final decision.

We do hope you have a clearer picture of the two boards and that we’ve helped you to decide which one you would like for the bright future of your little one.