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ICSE vs. CBSE – Which Board of Education to Choose For You?

Quality education can make quite a difference in a child’s wellbeing, whether primary or secondary. Both CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) and ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education) are internationally recognized boards. It can be difficult to assess which board is better because both have their pros and cons, which make them the two most recognized and popularly chosen boards in Indian Education. However here are a few differences between these two institutions to help you find the right pick:

Affiliation and Recognition

ICSE is not affiliated with the Indian government but it is however globally recognized in many countries across the world. However, CBSE is recognized both under the Indian Government and in global institutions. While most other boards, including ICSE, are required to cover the vast NCERT curriculum to sit for most competitive exams, which is not the case for CBSE. The best CBSE schools in India ensure quality education for students and if your child is planning to sit for exams such as IIT, JEE, defense or civil service exams, CDS, PMT, and further, filling the school admission form for a CBSE school is the wiser choice. 

Medium of Education

CBSE schools recognize schools that teach their uniform curriculum both in Hindi and English giving a broader platform for students. However, the only recognized medium for ICSE schools is English.


In terms of the syllabus of their respective curriculums, the standard for ICSE is tougher than CBSE. Another difference between the two is that CBSE tends to focus more on mathematics and science. ICSE on the other hand has a diversity of subjects. For students of arts, commerce, and other streams than science, it is a better opportunity to flourish in ICSE. However, the best CBSE schools in India do strive to enforce the overall development of students, outside the focal sciences and mathematics.

Examination Recognition of Students

Students who are pursuing homeschooling, private schools, or any other form of education are allowed to sit for CBSE examinations. However, in the case of ICSE, you will have to be a student of an ICSE affiliated school to sit for the board examinations. 


The grading system and curriculum nature of CBSE schools provide a lesser competitive edge which can help some students flourish. However if your child thrives under competition, ICSE can be a better platform. The best CBSE schools in India provide better theoretical knowledge providing a better edge for nationally recognized competitive exams. ICSE helps encourage and polish the analytical nature of students.  

Shifting Schools

If you are someone whose profession calls for transfers to other states, filling the school admission form for a multiple-branched CBSE board school would be a wise choice. CBSE has a prior edge with over 20000 schools affiliated with CBSE. While ICSE too has schools all around the nation, the number of schools affiliated under ICSE is 2000+.

Both boards are no doubt excellent in their approach. However, it is you who knows your child the best and hopefully, these above-listed differences will help you make the accurate decision.

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