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CBSE vs ICSE vs IGCSE: What to choose for your child?

With the introduction of so many boards, parents face a dilemma of choosing the right board for their child. The education system does not only involve getting admission to a school or picking up a stream; it also involves choosing the right board. With so many choices of boards, it becomes tough to come up with one.

Each board plays a significant part in a child’s learning journey. With so much to take from every board, choosing the right board is of utmost importance. Read on to choose which board will suit your child the most.

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)

Founded in 1962, CBSE directly comes under the jurisdiction of the Union Government of India. Among the different boards in India, the CBSE board is quite popular as it is pursued by a great number of students. Currently spread over 25 countries, it has more than 228 boards outside India.

  1. Number of schools- CBSE tops this category having over 24,000 schools spread across India.

  2. Focus- While some think the CBSE board follows the common trend, many people know that its curriculum is based on important subjects which help students in focusing on medical and engineering fields. Moreover, the board has a theoretical and traditional approach that emphasises subjects like maths and science. In addition to these, the CBSE board is simpler and more organised than other boards.

  3. Approach- The approach of the CBSE board is more on studies and examinations and less on extra-curricular activities.

  4. Classes- CBSE board works with classes starting from nursery to 12 between the age groups of 4 to 17.

  5. Exams- CBSE conducts 10-th and 12-th standard examinations all over the world. The marks secured in these two classes are considered important for admission to private and public universities, colleges and institutions.

  6. Complexity level- As CBSE is comparatively easy, a large number of students enrol in CBSE schools.


  1. CBSE is recognised by various colleges and universities nationally and internationally.

  2. The transfer from one CBSE school to another is easily done.

  3. The board consists of plenty of schools.

  4. It provides students with consistent assessment and quality learning and education.


  1. This board’s fees are seen to differ in each school.

  2. There are minimum options available to arts and literature students.

Indian Certificate for Secondary Education (ICSE)

Established in 1952, ICSE is a privately governed education board in India. It comprises 2 boards- one is the ICSE for class 10, and the other one is the ISC for class 12. This board focuses on practical knowledge, and presently several schools follow this board’s curriculum.

  1. Number of schools- Under ICSE, there is a total of 2213 schools in India.

  2. Focus- The board ICSE has an expansive curriculum that is believed to be better than CBSE. It focuses extensively on fields like arts, language, science, home science, maths, etc. Students who are willing to opt for various options in language, home science and arts will find ICSE better. It is popular for its balanced curriculum that focuses equally on every practical and theoretical subject. Students who want to pursue higher education abroad will find ICSE better than CBSE.

  3. Approach- ICSE board’s approach is broader as it gives more attention to the fields of science, languages, humanities and mathematics.

  4. Classes- ICSE’s classes are the same as CBSE’s, i.e., from nursery to 12.

  5. Exams- ICSE conducts two examinations- ICSE for class 10 and ISC for class 12. The marks secured in these two examinations are accepted in universities and colleges worldwide. The students who have studied under the ICSE board find it easier to follow the curriculum and syllabus of colleges and universities abroad.

  6. Complexity level- As compared to CBSE, ICSE’s curriculum and syllabus are more complex. A student scoring 90% in CBSE exams will score a maximum of 85% in the ICSE exam. As a result of this, more students enrol in CBSE schools than ICSE schools.


  1. ICSE gives equal focus to all fields.

  2. It provides a diverse range of options for science, arts and language students.

  3. This board works on a multi-dimensional basis focusing on the practical and analytical side of every field.

  4. ICSE board allows students to pick any subject they like.


  1. ICSE is known to be difficult and burdensome.

  2. ICSE schools’ fees are comparatively higher compared to the other 2 boards.

  3. Students face trouble while switching from ICSE to CBSE or IGCSE.

International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE)

IGCSE is a globally acknowledged board of education which is believed to follow a scrupulous curriculum. One of the reasons why students find it easy to take enrol themselves in colleges and universities abroad is that this board is considered to be equal to UK GCSE boards.

  1. Number of schools- IGCSE has a comparably less number of schools than the other two boards, the total number going up to 400.

  2. Focus- The entire system curriculum of IGCSE is different from ICSE and CBSE. It is a lot more accurate as it has above 30 separate languages and 70 different disciplines to select from. This board focuses more on practical methods of teaching and learning. IGCSE is focused more on providing quality education rather than general education.

  3. Approach- IGCSE board’s way of teaching, curriculum and syllabus work in the same way as in the USA and the UK. Hence, this board will be beneficial for a student wanting to migrate to other nations.

  4. Classes- The only comparison of IGCSE with CBSE and ICSE is that its classes are only applicable for the 9th and 10th.

  5. Exams- Unlike CBSE and ICSE, the IGCSE board conducts exams in a different way. It conducts three types of exams- written, oral and video. Along with this, a final exam is conducted every year in May or November.

  6. Complexity level- IGCSE board is more difficult when it comes to complexity level. Besides the written test, oral and video tests call for tough competition. If students are not thoroughly ready with their subjects, it might be very troublesome for them to pass the final exam.


  1. This board is accepted globally by every college, university or institution.

  2. It is more focused on languages and technical subjects.

  3. IGCSE has a relatively more well-planned and well-balanced syllabus.

  4. Students planning to move abroad for their education should opt for this board.


  1. Students learning under this board often face difficulties in searching for books and tuition.

  2. A very less number of schools follow this board of education.

  3. This board’s fee is very high in comparison to the other 2 boards.

All the above-listed boards have their benefits and drawbacks. While CBSE is considered by most in India in terms of availability, popularity and consistency, ICSE is known to be the best in terms of curriculum and syllabus. On the other hand, IGCSE might stand out from the rest in terms of migrating abroad for studying in the fields of science, humanities and language. If your child wants to have an open learning experience, Edvolve provides students with a number of learning options from a range of professionally-experienced teachers. Do check out our platform here:

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