Debunking the difference between the Boards: ICSE or CBSE?



A question that poses to be a difficult one for every parent in the country. Whether to enroll your child in CBSE or ICSE is a decision that stays with the child all his/her life. And to make that decision right, here is something that might help.

            To start with, know that both the Boards are excellent in what they do to nurture children across the country however their objectives and methods might be different. Which is why it is important to know what are they.

            Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is recognized National Council of Education and Research Training (NCERT)  body which was formed to centralise the school education system in India. Similarly, Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) is a venture of Council of Indian School Certificate Examinations which was given approval to conduct public examinations after it was taken over by the Anglo Indian Board from the British (formerly known as Cambridge IGCSE).

CBSE Vs ICSE: Which one is better?

Given below are 6 major points that differentiate CBSE from ICSE.

  • Teaching Methodology:

The curriculum followed by CBSE is from NCERT books which are more illustrated and light to read. The books have a more methodical explanation and focus more on Maths and Science. Core English is a little behind but overall gives a good experience for the child to learn. In addition, the amount kind of information passed down to every student is equal, so change of teachers does not affect the learning process.
ICSE on the other hand has very intensive content focused more on giving in depth knowledge to the child. The amount of content is more and equal attention is given to all subjects. ICSE might face a challenge of teachers and study material as it does not follow any particular curriculum thus introducing competitors coming up with different books. The quality offered to every child is therefore  not assured.

  • Flexibility for growth:

Both the boards focus enough amount on extra subjects however in CBSE, Environmental Science is not included and History, Geography and Civics are grouped into Social Sciences and Physics, Chemistry and Biology are mapped in one subject, Science. On the other hand, ICSE takes most of the parts of their curriculum from NCERT and add more areas to impart as much knowledge as possible. This leads to a next point that CBSE offers more leisure time to a child than ICSE and whether it is productive or not is entirely dependent on how the child spends his/her time.

  • Functional Aspects:

As CBSE is centralised, it is associated with majority of the schools in India and therefore studies of a child doesn’t get affected in case of transfers. In fact, it was for this very reason that CBSE was introduced, to provide a system where government employees can easily transfer to cities without worrying about their child’s future. It was later that private schools started adopting the culture as many private school employees were transferring. In ICSE, because the board is associated with limited number of schools, it becomes difficult for the uniformity of a child’s education in case the family is transferred to a place with no school having ICSE affiliation.

  • Regular and Private Candidates:

CBSE is affiliated to majority of the schools in India and therefore not only allows regular candidates studying in CBSE affiliated schools but also private candidates not studying in non-affiliated schools. ICSE however does not give this provision and does not allow a student to appear for the examination if he/she belongs to a non ICSE affiliated school.

  • For the children:

Over the years, with experience of different students it has been found out that students are able to score more marks in CBSE as compared to ICSE. This poses as a difficulty because later for higher education, ICSE pass outs find it difficult to deal with the leniency of evaluation.

  • Future possibilities:

Because CBSE is a centrally governed board, majority of the competitive examinations are open to it’s scores. These include IIT-JEE (now known as JEE Advanced), AIEEE (now known as JEE main) and all the state exams. ICSE score cards are more helpful in foreign competitive examinations like TOEFL and are recognised in colleges all around the world. Apart from this, more number of students from ICSE go on to opt Humanities and Arts than CBSE students.

You can also find the list of top schools in both CBSE and ICSE. These results are taken from various sources but there are few top schools in the country.

For CBSE, some of the top schools in the country are:

- DAV Boys and Girls Senior Secondary School in Chennai
- Ramkrishna Mission Vidyapeeth, Deogarh, Jharkhand
- Sri Kumaran Children’s Home School, Bengaluru
- National Public School, Kormangala, Bengaluru
- Chinmaya International Children’s School, Coimbatore

For ICSE, some of the top schools in the country are:

- The Shri Ram School, Gurgaon
- Cathedral and John Connon School, Mumbai
- La Martiniere for Boys, Kolkata
- Campion School, Mumbai
- St. Joseph’s Boys High School, Bengaluru

Even though both the boards have some major differences, both of them equally are the most renowned school boards of the country and whoever of them you choose, your child has a bright future!

About Tripti Rai

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