Author : EnrolmentDesk

In the circles of education in India, if there is a topic that's most talked about, then it would certainly be the difference between CBSE and ICSE boards. There are many misnomers regarding these two systems and it would certainly benefit parents if they clearly understand the difference.

Education in India has gotten so complex! If you even take a list of nursery schools, you would find umpteen approaches that are either slightly identical or radically different. From Waldorf to Reggio Emilia, we have them all! Now, when we consider the list of high schools in our cities, they are either affiliated to state boards, or CBSE or ICSE(CICSE) boards.

The equation with the state boards is quite clear. Every state has a body that comprises the board and they have their own syllabus. The question is a little complicated when it comes to the differences between CBSE and ICSE.

What do they stand for: CBSE: Central Board of Secondary Education. CICSE: Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations. CBSE:

Central board of secondary education is the major board of education in India. This board conducts the public examinations for 10th and 12th standards -the All India Secondary School Examination (AISSE), & the All India Senior School Certificate Examination (AISSCE). The board also conducts exams for undergraduate courses in many colleges over India. These exams are for admission in engineering and architecture, and medical colleges. The exams are AIEEE and AIPMT.

CBSE board affiliates all Kendriya Vidyalayas, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas and many private schools. In fact, there are many more schools affiliated to CBSE than ICSE.

CBSE is responsible for preparing the syllabus for secondary and senior secondary education. CBSE is also recognized by the NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training). The syllabus of CBSE is known to be very structured and has high standards. CBSE schools are available for both Hindi and English medium students. Also, the CBSE has strict regulations for private schools to get their affiliation. It prescribes a set of activities for students and minimum infrastructure mandates for schools to follow so that they maintain these standards and students get the best education.

It’s said that government and private employees who are constantly being transferred from one place to another prefer the CBSE schools as it has consistency all over the country.


Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CICSE) is a private non government board of school education that was set up in 1956. The council conducts the ICSE exams for grade 10 and ISC (Indian School Certificate) for the 12th. The design of ICSE is done in such a way that it can provide examinations for courses of general education. ICSE has only English medium.

The syllabus followed by the ICSE is quite different from the CBSE both in terms of the content and the volume. Though the syllabus followed by the ICSE is more comprehensive, students may feel it to be a bit more extensive for their liking. However, the certification by the ICSE is recognized by universities all over the world.

The subjects offered are of three different types. Compulsory Subjects, Group II, and Group III. Group II has Mathematics, Science, Environmental Science, Computer Science, Agricultural Science, Commercial Studies, Technical Drawing, A Modern Foreign Language, A Classical Language and Economics. Group III has Computer Applications, Economic Applications, Commercial Applications, Art, Performing Arts, Home Science, Cookery, Fashion Designing, Physical Education, Technical Drawing Applications, Yoga, and Environmental Applications.

Though both CBSE and ICSE have their own share of their pros and cons, parents have to set their priorities right to choose a particular board. Ideally, both look good on paper, but there are other factors to be considered like the school, faculty, the playground, and others.

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