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What is the Difference Between CBSE and ICSE Board?







null mins read

Giving your child the best education is one of the challenges that are concomitant with being a parent. Choosing the right education board between ICSE vs CBSE for your child takes up the top slot in the list of parenting dilemmas. Parents are grappled with several questions when it comes to ensuring the right education for their children.

Choosing the right education board for your child can help nurture young minds to become progressive global citizens who can contribute to the development and growth of the world. The Indian education system has both national and state-level education boards to meet the needs of the country’s population. Choosing education boards and schools is a big deal for your child’s growth and development.

Each education board has advantages that can help mould your child’s future. However, they cannot be clubbed together because of their differences. The kind of experiences your child has, the type of education system used, and how relevant the lessons are in each school district all have a massive impact on their future, career, and personality.

While the education system is divided into three stages, namely- Primary, Secondary and Senior Secondary, the boards that offer education are as follows:

  • CBSE Full Form: Central Board of Secondary Education
  • ICSE Full Form: Indian Certificate of Secondary Education
  • State Level Boards that go by the name of the state- U.P Board, Delhi Board, Bihar Board, and so on..
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Boards are limited to the top-tier cities of the country.

Which school should you choose? What is the difference between ICSE vs CBSE? What is better for your child? Which board is suitable for overall development? These questions often trouble parents when their child is all set to step into formal education. 

Let’s see what is meant by ICSE and CBSE boards and how they are different from each other.

What is the Full Form of ICSE and CBSE Board & Overview

ICSE Full Form: Indian Certificate Of Secondary Education

CBSE Full Form: Central Board Of Secondary Education

The two most prominent boards for school education in the country are the ICSE and CBSE boards. Both boards teach almost the same subjects. The difference in approach lies in the syllabus covered, the scope of knowledge delivered, and the learning goals achieved. Choosing the right board determines your child’s future and overall development.

Parents and children often come across the tussle surrounding education boards when they are selecting a school for their children. They find themselves introspecting about which board is best for their child. Which of these two major Indian boards is suitable for the overall development of their child? The battle around this topic can be concluded by looking at the pros and cons of education boards. It will also help you determine which schools in India best suit your child’s learning goals.

Overview of ICSE Board

The Local Examinations Syndicate of the University of Cambridge established the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE). It conducts the ICSE Examination at the end of the 10th grade and the Indian School Certificate (ISC) Examination at the end of the 12th grade.

Overview of CBSE Board

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). It conducts national-level exams for students serving as the standard minimum eligibility for higher education. The most striking feature of CBSE is that it conducts national-level entrance examinations for admission to different engineering and medical courses at the undergraduate level.

Classroom | CBSE schools in India | ICSE vs CBSE

Differences between CBSE and ICSE Board 

Education boards put maximum effort into shaping a child’s achievements and career goals by contributing to their growth and development. However, it is recommended that you do proper homework before deciding on a board and school for your child. Let’s uncover some characteristic features that can help you understand the differences between CBSE and ICSE boards.

CBSE vs ICSE: Popularity

  • When it comes to the popularity of the ICSE vs CBSE board, you can say that the ICSE board is more prevalent among foreign Colleges and Universities. Thus, if you want your child to take up courses at foreign Universities or Colleges, then the ICSE board is the surest way for your child. This is because the ICSE syllabus includes arts, literature, humanities subjects, maths, and science.
  • On the contrary, the CBSE board is highly popular among the JEE & NEET aspirants as it provides a competitive edge, with science and maths being the primary subjects. Likewise, all major institutions in India recognize and value the CBSE curriculum, so the CBSE board is the most popular for students who want to be admitted into prestigious Indian institutes and universities.

CBSE vs ICSE: The Difference in Curriculum

  • The first difference in the curriculum of CBSE and ICSE lies in the fact that CBSE focuses on Science and Mathematics while ICSE Board gives equal importance to other subject streams, including Arts, Languages, Science, Mathematics, and even Humanities.
  • CBSE follows a more streamlined and structured curriculum focusing on a few subjects that help students with their competitive exams.
  • On the other hand, ICSE follows a more comprehensive, detailed, and extensive curriculum that includes a number of subjects,, including literature, humanities, arts, etc.

CBSE vs ICSE: The Difference in Syllabus

  • The difference between CBSE vs ICSE Boards lies in the structure of the syllabus. ICSE syllabus is quite detailed and comprehensive. In contrast, the CBSE board has a precise and easy syllabus that delivers subject matter very lightly.
  • The difference between CBSE and ICSE board syllabi can also be sharply seen in its teaching methodology. ICSE board teaching methodology is based on applying theoretical concepts and is more inclined toward real-life ideas by an adequate understanding of the subject matter.  
  • CBSE offers a compact syllabus with fewer subjects to study.
  • ICSE offers a range of languages to study, including Hindi, English, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, and others. Some ICSE schools offer creative subjects like agriculture, home science, humanities, arts, and cooking. ICSE is a winner when it comes to talking about the scope of the syllabus in the ICSE vs CBSE debate.

CBSE VS ICSE: Which Board Provides a Better Competitive Edge?

  • The syllabus of CBSE is fruitful for students aspiring to sit for national-level entrance examinations such as IIT-JEE and NEET. The abundance of theoretical information helps students gain knowledge from an exam point of view. However, ICSE Boards help cultivate better analytical abilities and an in-depth understanding owing to the extensive and complex syllabus.
  • Choosing an education board for your child by understanding the competitive advantage offered can help your child achieve his career goals in the long run. It is possible if you know the difference between CBSE and ICSE boards.

CBSE VS ICSE: Medium of Instruction

  1. ICSE boards emphasise the English language as the medium of instruction. It gives them leverage when appearing for TOEFL, IELTS, and other standard exams that serve as standard scores for entry to foreign universities. On the contrary, the CBSE board doesn’t prefer any language. 
  2. ICSE Board also emphasises teaching literature and language skills that help build their personality. It is another strong point that gives some weightage to the ICSE board in the ICSE vs CBSE debate. 
Teacher writing on White board | International Schools in India | ICSE vs CBSE

CBSE Vs ICSE: Acceptance

  • ICSE Board has better acceptability than any other board, particularly in foreign lands.
  • While CBSE Boards are widely accepted, students with an ICSE certification get the upper hand in foreign schools and universities. If you wish to send your child to a foreign education program, it is essential to consider these differences between the CBSE and ICSE boards.
  • CBSE board, on the other hand, is well-known among students aspiring for competitive examinations such as JEE, NEET, etc., since science and maths are the two primary focus subjects in CBSE board.

CBSE Vs ICSE: Ease of Transfer

  • For those parents who work in professions that involve a lot of travelling, it is preferred that you choose the CBSE Board. CBSE is the preferred certification across India. CBSE Schools are more in number and can help your child get admission to a similar board without any hassles. The innumerable schools affiliated with the CBSE board indeed give an upper hand to CBSE in the ICSE vs CBSE discussions.

CBSE Vs ICSE: Examination Pattern

  • The class 10th ICSE Board examination is categorised into two sections: Tier 1 consists of multiple-choice questions (MCQs), while Tier 2 includes both subjective and objective questions.
  • The CBSE board syllabus is broken up into two terms; term 1 consists of case-based and assertion-reasoning type multiple-choice questions, while term 2 includes short and lengthy answers, open-ended questions, and questions based on cases and situations.
  • The CBSE board exam pattern includes two different types of evaluations: formative assessments, which include exams after each term, and summative assessments. The test format for class 10 will be 100 marks total, of which 80 will be allocated to theoretical and 20 to practical, internal, and project work.
  • The class 10 ICSE exam format consists of a mathematical question paper that must be solved in 2.5 hours. Part A and B will make up the two portions of the mathematics exam. Short questions worth 40 points are required for Part A, while Part B consists of 7 questions, of which 4 must be answered correctly to receive 40 points. For science courses like physics, chemistry, and biology, however, each exam is two hours long and is divided into two halves. Part A has one brief, required question for 40 points, and Part B has six questions, at least four of which must be correctly answered to earn another 40 points.

CBSE Vs ICSE: Grading System

  • CBSE offers an alphabetical grading system, while ICSE evaluates its students in the form of a score. 
  • To answer the much pondered-upon question, “ICSE vs CBSE, which is better?” You can take help from the grading system as well. 
  • CBSE has an alphabetical grading system with A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2, D, E1, E2. A1 grade indicates 91-100% marks, while A2 indicates 81-90, and so on. 
  • On the other hand, ICSE has a numeric grading system from 1,2, 3,4,….up to 9. The scores 1 and 2 indicate the highest and second highest % of marks, respectively. The scores 8 and 9 indicate failure. 
  • Although the ICSE board predominantly conducts external examinations, the CBSE board uses internal and external evaluations. 20% of the marks in ICSE are given for internal evaluations, while 8% are given for external tests. Whereas ICSE has a more rigorous grading scheme, CBSE has a more lax one.
Teacher using Whiteboard for Graph Explanation | CBSE schools in India | ICSE vs CBSE

CBSE Vs ICSE: Level of Difficulty 

  • Due to the curriculum, syllabus, and assessment patterns, ICSE is more complicated than CBSE as it is highly concept-based. On the contrary, CBSE is relatively more straightforward due to its more practical approach, concise curriculum, and lenient grading system.
  • The ICSE curriculum is thought to be more challenging than the CBSE curriculum. This is because there are more internal evaluations and topics in the ICSE syllabus that may be used in practical tests.
  • Compared to CBSE, the ICSE board is one of the toughest boards run by the CISCE (Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination). However, the difficulty level depends on the child’s ability to learn and cope with the training. It’s important to note that students can succeed on any board with proper planning and mindset.

CBSE Vs ICSE: University Recognition

  • Most parents and students have doubts about CBSE or ICSE. Which is better for the future? This question can easily be answered by looking at the university recognition for both boards. 
  • ICSE and CBSE are recognised by universities and colleges across India and the globe. However, CBSE is widely recognised and preferred by most Indian Universities and colleges. On the other hand, the ICSE board is preferred and recognised by foreign universities and colleges. 
  • As a student or parent, you can decide ICSE vs CBSE which is better for you by determining where you want to study in the future. If you want to take admissions in foreign universities or colleges, then go for the ICSE board, and if you want to pursue higher studies in Indian universities and colleges, then opt for the CBSE board.

CBSE VS ICSE: Which Board Is Better for the Overall Development of Your Child?

Considering the differences mentioned above between ICSE and CBSE boards, the mystery of choosing an education board can be easily solved. While ICSE can help your child develop his core personality traits and hone his skills, CBSE can help him achieve his career goals. Parents also need to consider other factors when choosing a school by examining the differences between the CBSE and ICSE education boards. These include schools that encourage online learning, reading, performing arts, sports, and a relevant curriculum that can help your child reach his learning goals. When choosing an education board, parents also need to be innovative and think about the quality of the education. 

Hence, both boards have pros and cons, and ICSE students’ futures are as bright as CBSE board students are. By considering the pros and cons of each board, students and parents can decide which is better for the future.

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