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CBSE, CISCE, IB, IGCSE or State board: Details of Different School Boards in India

For those who can’t decide upon a choice out of a number of boards, we bring here the solution by providing details about the examinations, assessment criteria and curriculum followed by different boards in the country.

May 13, 2019 16:08 IST
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Different School Boards in India
Different School Boards in India

Over the past few years, a number of new education systems have emerged to be popular in India. With the increased number of education boards, it’s quite natural for parents to get confused about the best choice for their kids. To help them come up with a solution, we have made a thorough analysis of the learning approach and evaluation criteria followed by the different school boards. Here, we will discuss all the leading school boards in India and compare them basis their teaching and assessment methods, curriculum, difficulty level and other factors affecting a student’s overall development. Here, you will to get a fair idea about the features and benefits offered by different school boards in India.

1. Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is the most popular board in India , controlled and managed by Union Government of India. With around 19,316 CBSE affiliated schools in India, the board also has global presence with nearly 141 affiliated schools across 21 countries. 

Objective: CBSE always works with a vision to provide stress-free education to its students by adapting innovative teaching methods infused with psychological and instructive principles.

Syllabus: CBSE syllabus more or less focuses on preparing students for Engineering and Medical entrance examinations. All national entrance examinations are conducted as per the CBSE syllabus. The board emphasises on the use of NCERT Books which form the basis of all entrance examinations conducted in India.

Examinations: The two major examinations conducted by CBSE are All India Secondary School Examination (AISSE) for Class 10 and All India Senior School Certificate Examination (AISSCE) for Class 12.

CBSE: Its importance, Objectives and Areas of Focus

2. Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE-ICSE/ISC) 

The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE)  is a privately held national level board of school education in India . 

Objective: The main objective of ICSE is to provide high quality education to students through a practical approach. It encourages students to choose across diverse streams/subjects for Class 12 by putting equal emphasis on science, arts and language subjects, especially English.

Syllabus: CISCE syllabus is more vast and comprehensive in comparison with that of CBSE. It has been structured in a way to impart practical knowledge and build analytical skills required for the overall development of a student.

Examinations: The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations conducts three examinations, namely, the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE –Class X); The Indian School Certificate (ISC - ClassXII) and the Certificate in Vocational Education (CVE - Year 12). The C.V.E. course is intended to prepare candidates for specific vocations.

CBSE, CISCE Results 2019: A comparison between performance of two boards in 2019 examinations

How CBSE is different from ICSE Board?

3. International Baccalaureate (IB)
International Baccalaureate is a no-profit educational organization that offers prime quality programmes for children aged between 3 and 19. The IB schools are considered prestigious, at the same time expensive.

Objective: It focuses on Analytical skills, language, arts and humanities. The purpose of the IB is to produce global citizens

Syllabus: It has international curriculum where subjects are taught in an integrated way in order to avoid a fragmented approach. IB has a different approach with few textbooks. Students are free to explore the world.

Examinations: It has 3 sections, the PYP (Primary years program, KG to 5th standard), MYP (Middle years program, 6th-10th standard) and the DYP (Diploma years program, 11th-12th standard). It has no prescribed textbooks delivering a lot of freedom in learning.

Frequently Asked Questions about the British School, New Delhi

4. Cambridge Assessment International Education (Cambridge International)

Many schools in India are now getting affiliated to Cambridge International. Cambridge International conducts the IGCSE and AS & A Level exams. Cambridge International is part of the University of Cambridge. Cambridge curriculum starts from Primary, Lower Secondary and Upper Secondary to Advanced. This is called the Cambridge Pathway.  Cambridge Pathway gives students a clear path for educational success from age 5 to 19.

Objective: Cambridge Assessment International Education prepares school students for life, helping them develop an informed curiosity and a lasting passion for learning.

Syllabus: Cambridge International offers a choice of over 70 subjects at IGCSE level and over 55 subjects AS & A level, which makes it one of the most flexible education boards in India. Schools can shape the curriculum around how they want students to learn. A lot of emphasis is put on English language and students are encouraged to propel their creativity through a variety of writings. Then there is additional focus on foreign language that is intended to help the children in the long run.,

Examinations: IGCSE exams are conducted at the end of Cambridge Upper Secondary (14 to 16 year olds), and AS & A Level is conducted at the end of Cambridge Advanced (16 to 19 year olds). Schools may choose to hold the examinations in June, November or March. The March series is only conducted in India to benefit students who wish to apply to Indian universities for higher education.

5. State Boards

State boards are specific to each State and follows separate syllabus and grading methodology. Every state board has its own educational approach which causes a variance in the syllabus from one state to another state in India.

Objective: It focuses on state level topics and content of local relevance which helps students in preparing for state level engineering and medical entrance tests. .

Syllabus: The syllabus is usually limited when compared to other boards. Regional languages and culture have a prominent place in the syllabus. Some state boards have ordered all their schools to follow NCERT books only which are important for students to prepare for pan India examinations.

Examinations: Exams are conducted in each class. In Class X, the students appear for Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and the Class XII students appear for the Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC) exams. 

CBSE or State Board - Which is a better option

All this comparison does not bring us to say which education system is better than the other. Instead, parents should look at all the possible options and make the best decision depending upon their child’s interests and learning capability.

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