Which Board is Best for UPSC : CBSE Or ICSE?
What is UPSC?
Every year the government organization, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts one of the most competitive and difficult exams of the nation – the Civil Services Examination. Candidates who seek placement in prominent government jobs and positions such as IAS, IPS, etc., need to appear for these exams. These exam results will help determine whether the aspirant is eligible for admission into any of the above Civil Services of India’s Government.
Each candidate who is successfully admitted earns his/her designation based on his/her score and ranking in the exam. The qualification rate of this highly competitive exam is around 0.1 percent only. It takes years of dedication, diligence in preparation, and the right board with the right amount of discipline and hard work to crack it. So which board would you choose: ICSE or CBSE?
Where Should You Begin – CBSE Board Or ICSE?
There is no such proper time to start preparing for the UPSC exams or an ideal age to start IAS preparation. Regardless, the kids of today are inspired from the very early days of their childhood. Be it the dignity and pride in working for the country or the perks and privileges that come with becoming an IAS or IPS officer, children’s ambitions are sky-high, and they see themselves filling the shoes of such positions. Some even start preparations from the tender age of sixteen.
We can assume that the preparation for the UPSC examination should start at the grass-root level. This usually leaves parents in a massive dilemma of which board to admit their kids into – the CBSE board, the Central Board of Secondary Education, or ICSE, the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education. Each board is extremely popular and offers its own set of advantages, experiences, and exposures. The crucial decision of choosing a board is difficult but equally important as it establishes a sound foundation. The foundation plays a pivotal role in the future development throughout secondary education.
ICSE Or CBSE Board- Which Is Better For Future?
Let’s get a side-by-side understanding of the two boards and form a comparison. For starters, it is crucial to know how each board sets the syllabus and who sets it.
- The CBSE board is the national board of our country, set by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). The CBSE board’s primary aim is to encourage the overall growth of the student’s character and intellect. The ICSE board focuses more on strengthening the student’s analytical abilities, encouraging them to get a deeper understanding of any topic they study. CBSE’s biggest advantage is that it is conducive to the pattern of our country. At the same time, the ICSE follows a syllabus and curriculum set by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate.
- CBSE board is more intensive in its curriculum and teaching, and ICSE is more extensive. The latter focuses on proper knowledge development and application, while the former focuses more on skill development.
- CBSE exams focus on more objective types of questions, which prepares them well for national level competitive exams in the future. ICSE exams, on the other hand, set an excellent base for any competitive exams a student might want to take outside of India – like the TOEFL, SATs, etc.
- ICSE board inculcates strong concept building in the students, where they can address any topic in great detail and research. However, most competitive exams like the UPSC find some basis in the CBSE syllabus. An ICSE board student would find it a more significant challenge to prepare for the UPSC exam as he/she would have to unlearn and relearn the entire syllabus all over again. In contrast, the CBSE student has already set a good base for himself/herself through a comprehensive study of the NCERT syllabus all through their schooling. This is because the NCERT syllabus is the starting point for preparing for the UPSC exam.
- CBSE pedagogy is more inclined to build a strong foundation for the students in the subjects being taught, while ICSE gives the right amount of weight to projects and lab work. Usually, marks for internal assessments allots to about 20%.
- The CBSE board curriculum is in complete tandem with the Indian curriculum, with certain additions to it. At the same time, the ICSE follows the syllabus set by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE). CBSE’s curriculum puts a great deal of emphasis on Science and Mathematics; meanwhile, ICSE is more focused on arts, language, and science. Studying CBSE encourages students to go towards engineering, medical, etc., making them ready for the most competitive exams. ICSE encourages its students to move towards literature, arts, management, etc., making them ready for exams like TOEFL, scholarship exams, etc.
Can you Switch Boards?
Students who have taken up the ICSE board their entire life still have equal chances of studying and attempting the UPSC exams. However, the major difference between students who have taken CBSE and those in ICSE is that the former will have studied the curriculum in depth over a reasonably long period. The latter will get only a fraction of the time to study the same. This also gives CBSE a much higher possibility to clear the exams in their first attempt.
NCERT books, initially authored by experts and officials working for India’s Government, are considered to be the most authentic source to learn topics for the UPSC examination for both aspiring students and UPSC themselves. There is an observation that several questions asked in the UPSC examinations are directly from the NCERT books. The NCERT is an autonomous organization that is set up in 1961 by the Government of India with the sole purpose to advise the Central and State Governments on policies and programs for qualitative improvement in school education.
After deep and thorough research, experts and government officials have come up with a very meticulous draft of the original editions of NCERT books. Thus, it goes without saying that these exams conducted by the Government of India would give a lot of importance to the books published by the NCERT. Studying from these books gives a pretty clear understanding of the basic concepts that are further covered in detail in the UPSC curriculum. The most important subjects from the NCERT books that help build a strong foundation for preparing for the UPSC exams include history, geography, environment, polity, economy, and general science (physics, chemistry, biology, biotechnology), sociology, art, and culture.
The Decision Is Yours
You can choose any one of the boards, be it ICSE, OR CBSE, because both holds equal importance to one’s life in various aspects.
Some might argue it doesn’t matter what board you choose when you prepare for competitive exams like UPSC since the syllabus is varying, and both cover a variety of topics and offer an in-depth look at each subject. There could be some truth in this. Here we are not arguing that selecting one type of board guarantees success in cracking the UPSC exams. We are merely stating the obvious facts regarding the two types of curricula.
By choosing the most beneficial board for higher chances of success in the UPSC exams, at the preliminary stages of a student’s education and life could help them prepare subconsciously, making them ready to study a certain way, give tests a certain way and help them master the basics of the topics covered in these exams, right from the foundation stage. This will not guarantee pass or fail but will give the student an edge or competitive advantage when appearing for these highly competitive exams.