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CBSE vs ICSE vs IB - What are the differences and which is the best choice for your child

CBSE vs ICSE vs IB - What are the differences and which is the best choice for your child

Early education is an important element in the development of the right personality for every child. Therefore, parents should look for educational institutions that provide suitable education, extracurricular activities, teachers, etc. We make sure your child learns in the perfect environment to build their life. Let’s look at the differences among CBSE vs ICSE vs IB.

What are the different educational boards?

There are three major educational boards: CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education), ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education), and IB (International Baccalaureate). This guide will help parents find what's best for their child.

In this blog:
  • CBSE vs ICSE vs IB: A brief overview
  • India's best education boards
  • About Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)
  • Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) )
  • About the International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • CBSE vs. ICSE vs. IB
  • Different approaches to education
  • Subjects
  • Evaluation criteria
  • Difficulty
  • Number of textbooks
  • Frequently asked questions
CBSE vs ICSE vs IB: A brief overview

After discussing CBSE, ICSE and IB above, let us compare the three.

Particulars of CBSE, ICSE, and IB
Number of Schools

CBSE: 24,000

ICSE: 2,200

IB: 210

Compulsory Subjects

CBSE: English

ICSE: English + Socially Useful Productive Work

IB: Creative Action Service + Theory of Knowledge + Extended Essay

Category of Subjects

CBSE: 3 Streams (Science, Commerce, and Humanities)

ICSE: 3 Streams + More Volume

IB: 6 Subject Groups

Focus

CBSE: Math + Science

ICSE: English > Other Streams

IB: Equal Focus to All

Also Read: Best Schools in Delhi NCR

Who can benefit?

CBSE: Students looking to take entrance examinations such as IIT JEE, IT MAINS, IIT JEE ADVANCED

ICSE: Students looking for a development of language skills

IB: Students who want to pursue global education and foreign universities

India's best education boards

According to official government statistics, there are a total of 65 education boards in India. These are divided into regular school boards and public-school boards. Some of the most popular education boards in India include Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), NIOS, Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE), IB,  State Boards, etc.

But how do we decide which school board is the best in India?

What makes one educational institution better than another is the curriculum and teaching methods it includes. All educational authorities in India are equally recognized by government and private organizations for career choices. Before choosing an education, we recommend understanding its history, what it offers, its education system, and other important factors.

About Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)

Most schools in India are affiliated with CBSE. It is a popular and influential board used by many prominent schools. Let's read some of the main features of CBSE below.

CBSE provides a set of syllabi and subjects for students to study and prepare. The board operates with a defined structure in accordance with government guidelines. Includes exam process, scoring scheme, etc. CBSE exam is knowledge and skill based. It also prepares students to participate in further competitive examinations.

About the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE)

This is another popular board in India. The difficulty level of this board is higher than CBSE. It is known for its aristocratic learning. Students are sure to learn from this board's curriculum and prepare for academic excellence. Some key features: 

The curriculum set in this forum is very strict and does not give students many options.

Furthermore, according to the curriculum, there is a need/requirement to include and utilize socially meaningful work projects.

In class X, only 3 subjects are compulsory and others are elective.

Classes XI and XII have courses similar to CBSE but taught in detail.

Extracurricular activities such as art, music, speaking, and community service are becoming increasingly important.

Overall, it offers more complex learning than the difficult CBSE.

About the International Baccalaureate (IB) 

Schools affiliated with this committee focus more on the overall development of the child. But the price is also higher. Subjects are organized in a way that they are interconnected has no fixed textbook.

Three levels of education are offered:

Middle Years Program

Elementary Program

Diploma Program

Some key features: 

A student can choose his one from six different subject groups.

Additionally, the IB allows students to complete tests, portfolios, presentations, assessments, and assignments throughout the year.

This is a slight advantage for students who want to take exams such as the SAT and GRE. This board has a strong profile-building aspect to help students gain admission to overseas universities.

CBSE vs ICSE vs IB

Now, to understand the differences between these three school boards, let us explain the aspects of each.

Different Approaches to Education

One of the most respected educational institutions is CBSE. It is the dominant institution in the Indian education system. With the addition of new subjects, CBSE follows the national curriculum. National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) accepts CBSE. CBSE syllabus is used for almost all national level entrance exams. CBSE Board gives more priority to acquiring mathematical and scientific knowledge. Therefore, this board is preferred by students who want to pursue a career in engineering or medicine. The board does not place much emphasis on extracurricular activities.

ICSE and IB Boards, on the other hand, adopt a more holistic approach and focus on holistic growth rather than just information acquisition and exams, so all streams such as Humanities, Science, Mathematics, CBSE, etc. We give equal importance to our courses.

Subjects

Let’s understand the difference between the subjects offered by all these three boards.

CBSE(Central Board of Secondary Education):

Provide students with detailed information and experience regarding their chosen subjects. Versatility is great as six different topic groups are available to the student and from each, she has to choose one. The DP Core also consists of her three required subjects: Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Extended Essay (EE), and Creativity Action Service (CAS).

In addition, the IB focuses on integrative learning, imparting intercultural awareness and improving communication skills, languages, arts, and humanities. We focus on developing global citizenship. We take an international approach with fewer textbooks, allowing students to explore the world beyond books. The IB board has three levels: Primary School Program (3-12 years old), Secondary School Program (11-16 years old), and Diploma Program (16-19 years old).

ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education)

It adds intensity and volume to the course but follows the same flow pattern as CBSE. In addition, English and Socially Useful and Productive Work (SUPW) are two additional topics that are required for all students. Many Indian and foreign universities accept ICSE certification.

IB (International Baccalaureate)

Provide students with detailed information and experience regarding their chosen subjects. Versatility is great as six different topic groups are available to the student and from each they have to choose one. The DP Core also consists of her three required subjects: Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Extended Essay (EE), and Creativity Action Service (CAS).

Additionally, the IB focuses on providing holistic learning, intercultural awareness, and improving communication skills, languages, arts, and humanities. Greater emphasis was placed on developing global citizenship. We take an international approach with fewer textbooks, allowing students to explore the world beyond books. The IB board has three levels: Primary School Program (3-12 years old), Secondary School Program (11-16 years old), and Diploma Program (16-19 years old).

Evaluation Criteria

CBSE evaluates students based on their memory, retention and learning ability. Memorization learning takes precedence over understanding and knowledge. However, the remaining two committees are equally focused on improving understanding, skills, knowledge, and its application.

Also Read: How Formative assessments propel learning in Bambinos

Difficulty Level

Now let's examine the complexity of each of the three boards.

CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education)

Compared to the other three education boards, CBSE has fewer courses and a higher scoring system, which reduces the level of complexity. Less detail is also put into the principles, and knowledge application is given more attention.

ICSE The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE)

English Core, which is regarded as being far more advanced than CBSE, is particularly demanding compared to CBSE and teaches topics at a higher level. Additionally, because responses are scored more strictly, on average, CISCE provides tough and complex questions as compared to CBSE.

IB (International Baccalaureate)

IB board is even more complex and arduous as compared to other two boards. since the kids are evaluated on a range of factors throughout the entire year. There is a strong emphasis on internal assessment, which keeps students engaged throughout the year. Tests, essays, portfolios, and assignments are used to evaluate student performance

Number of Textbooks

Students must use the textbooks and syllabus provided by CBSE and CISCE. IB, on the other hand, does not provide pre-determined texts, giving students more freedom in this area through recommended readings.

Ultimately, what matters to students and their parents is choice, finances, and convenience. However, it is important to understand their basic similarities, contrasts, and differences.

These are the key differences between the three major curricula in India, CBSE vs ICSE vs IB. We hope you now have enough information to make informed and effective decisions about your child's education.

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Article Author

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Kanishka Chawla

Kanishka Chawla is a Award-winning Educator ⭐️ Inspirational Speaker ✨ Holistic Well-being Advocate. With over a decade of experience in personal development and empowerment, Kanishka Chawla is a highly respected figure in the field. As an accomplished Author, Life Coach, and Internationally Certified NLP Trainer, she has dedicated her career to helping individuals unlock their full potential and lead fulfilling lives. She has inspired individuals to overcome obstacles, tap into their true potential, and lead more fulfilling lives through her teachings and inspirational talks.

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