Indian Certificate for Secondary Education or ICSE, as it is popularly known as, is a private, non-governmental board of school education in India. Established way back in 1958, it was formed by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, with the assistance of the Inter-State Board for Anglo-Indian education. Though considered as the second most prominent board of education in our country, most of the people don’t even know that it is not still a board. ICSE is the certificate offered at the completion of the course. Yet, ICSE board is the term used to mention this course. The council is mainly responsible for conduction of an all India exam for class X, which is popularly known as ICSE. Another exam conducted by the council is known as ISC or the Indian School Certificate.
The ICSE board follows a comprehensive syllabus which has an interactive approach towards education. The board syllabi covers all the fields in various subjects with equal importance. Although most of our competitive exams are formed keeping the CBSE board syllabi in mind , but the students of ICSE have an edge when they apply for foreign universities or attempt exams like TOEFL. ICSE students have a better chance of selection and growth in streams of management and humanities due to the emphasis on language and practical in the ICSE curriculum. The curriculum is extremely engaging and challenging for the students and is successful in retaining the students’ interest levels.
The ICSE board follows their own set of rules and regulations regarding the syllabus and scheme of examinations. Recently, the ICSE even introduced reforms in its examination system, which included e-registration and centralized marking of scripts at both ICSE and ISC levels. The board has also decided to make its evaluation more transparent and clear, so that the students get a clear understanding of their evaluation system. The Council of ICSE has even declared that they would be centralizing the marking of their answer scripts for ICSE and ISC examinations. Further, rules and regulations of the ICSE have been described as follows:
- The board mainly conducts three examinations- the ICSE, the ISC and the Certificate of Vocational Education.
- The board has a Committee on Examinations and Subject Committees for formulating and revising the curriculum and the syllabus of the ICSE board. They are also the ones who handle the criticisms and suggestions given for the website. The members of the team are well-trained examiners and specialists.
- The board has very strict rules regarding the attendance of the students. Candidates with less than 75% attendance, are not allowed to sit for the examination. This is inclusive of absence due to illness and other special circumstances.
- The schools affiliated under the ICSE board are provided with their own booklet which contains the regulations and syllabi of the Board.
- If any candidate(s) is/are found not following the rules and regulations of the board regarding the examinations, then the candidate or the candidates concerned may be disqualified.
- Under ICSE, a strong emphasis is laid on vital and practical tests and assignments. The schools are bound to have labs for subjects such as Math, Science, Computers etc. The marks of these tests are aggregated with the overall scores of the student. ICSE also lays strong emphasis on Lab work in subjects such as Science and Math.
- The ICSE board has made it compulsory for all the schools following ICSE pattern to include environmental education as one of the subjects. The teaching of this subject helps to raise the mental bar of the students and make them more aware of their environment.
- The ICSE examination question paper is a balance of objective and subjective questions. Both have to have equal priority or weight. There are projects of almost all the subjects which help the students to get a deeper understanding of the subject.
- Since 2005, ICSE has provided students with the option of choosing one subject from a group of skill-based subjects for the final term exams. They can choose from a variety of subjects such as art, dance, physical education, cookery etc. While the examinations, 50% of the assessment is made by an outside examiner.
ICSE syllabus and curriculum lays a very strengthening base for the students. It provides the students with a better insight of the topic and helps them learn better through practical and lab work. This helps in developing a firm base for the students. The ICSE board of education is particularly preferable for students who wish to pursue higher education abroad. It is well accepted and acknowledged by well-known universities and colleges worldwide. The ICSE exams are based on three aspects: knowledge, understanding and application. These exams help the students to develop a better understanding of their subjects. ICSE curriculum is better to opt for because 20% of all the examination result is based on internal assessment. As the student is continuously assessed in the class room, he gets a better sense his school books. Hence, the rules and regulations of the ICSE board might make it a bit different from the CBSE board but they have their own advantages that benefit the students in the long run.