CBSE vs ICSE:The Right Choice for Your Child


Much like the socio-economic diversity in India, school education also offers a multifaceted model. Overall, the schooling in India is split in different levels – primary, secondary and senior secondary. The school age begins once the child is three years old and is normally completed at the age of sixteen. The secondary and senior secondary level, from grade VIII to XII is the most important, in terms of career goals and achievements.

There is often a wide debate on accrediting the best school and the best board governing the secondary and senior secondary education system. The question –What is better for the child, CBSE or ICSE, often becomes serious for the parents, as it is the children who have to decide. So far as CBSE or ICSE are concerned, one has to know about their structure and how they function, so as to arrive at any positive conclusion.

Technically speaking, CBSE and ICSE cannot be clubbed together, as the former refers to the board and the latter to an examination conducted by a different education board. Let us examine the two boards and see what do they offer.

CBSE vs ICSE education system


CBSE or Central Board of Secondary Education is one of the most popular school boards in India. The board is responsible for preparing the syllabus for class 9 to 12th, secondary and senior secondary level. Another important function of CBSE is to conduct examinations based on the prescribed syllabus. It is a recognized board and its syllabus incorporates the national curriculum as well as additional subject matter. The board conducts two examinations – All India Secondary School Examination, AISSE (Class X) and the All India Senior School Certificate Examination, AISSCE (Class XII).

ICSE on the other hand is one of the two examinations conducted by yet another board, CISCE or Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination. It is similar to AISSE conducted by the CBSE. Its (CISCE’s) equivalent for AISSCE is the Indian School Certificate or ISC.

The Medium of Instruction

The first and foremost dissimilarity between the two boards is the medium of instructions approved by the board. CBSE approves both English and Hindi language as the medium of instruction. While, on the other hand, CISCE or ICSE does not recommend Hindi.

Regular and Private Candidates

CBSE is affiliated to a large number of schools all over India. The board allows both regular candidates, who study in the schools affiliated to CBSE, as well as private candidates from non-affiliated schools to appear in the exams. Contrary to this, ICSE does not allow a candidate who has not been studying in the schools affiliated to the CISCE.


Both CBSE and CISCE are self-financing education institutions. However, CBSE is recognized by Indian Government and CICSE is not. Although the certificates provided by both of them are globally valid, yet CBSE has a better footing in the subcontinent than ICSE. The ISC by CISCE is recognized by many foreign education systems as equivalent to senior examination or high school. Therefore, students qualifying ISC are not required to go for bridge courses while seeking admission in colleges abroad.


The syllabus prepared by CBSE is more suitable for qualifying in various entrance examinations, including the medical and engineering professional exams. The syllabus of ICSE is more detailed and requires the student to remember a lot. CBSE is comparatively easier than ICSE.


One more point of distinction between the two boards is the evaluation and assessment of students. In ICSE, internal assessments are vital and practical tests are aggregated with the overall scores. ICSE lays more emphasis on lab work.

Environmental Education

The ICSE has made it compulsory to include environmental education as one of the subjects. CBSE does not ask for the same.

Other than examinations and syllabus, the two boards are engaged in a number of education related activities. Research and Development is the secondary initiative taken by CISCE. CBSE also has been engaged in similar exercises, including the research on creating better learning environments for the students.

67 Replies to “CBSE vs ICSE:The Right Choice for Your Child”

  1. I have passed my class 10th with 95% from a CBSE school.Now i have planned to change my school to an ICSE school.Will i be able to cope up with the much advanced syllabus of ICSE ❓ I am opting for commerce in class 11th.HELP!!!!!! ❗ 😕

  2. Dear Sir/Madam,
    I have studied in IGCSE/GCSE (London Board) and have done my 11th Board there as the board happens to be in 11th instead of 10th like in the indian board.I have now transferred to ahemdabad and not getting admission in CBSE.I actually want to do IIT and so now have no other option than IB board and ICSE board.Which board do you suggest I opt for?

  3. Currently w r in USA & moving to India in February ’10. My kid is 6 yrs old & she is in 1st grade here in USA. Wanted to put her in ICSE board but getting confussed between CBSE, ICSE & International School.
    W’ll be shifting to Vile-parle or Andheri area in Mumbai.
    Can u help me?

    Thanks in advance

  4. Dear Madam, my child is 2 yrs and 3 months old. We want our child to go for Engineering or IAS. Can you please suggest which board we should opt for him CBSE or ICSE? We are in Gurgaon and can get admission in any board school. Will appreciate your quick reply as we have deadline from one reputed school to enroll him in next 4-5 days.

  5. hello,

    We are planning to move to india this year in May2010. My son is in first grade here in US. We will be ,moving to chennai, We are confused with the ICSE/CBSE which one to prefer and looks like apart from board of education the ICSE schools have better infrastructure in chennai Adyar schools than the CBSE, which makes the ICSE schools a better environment than the local CBSE schools for the kids coming from US. But just worried with the syllabus as to which is best for the future of our kids. Appreciate your response. Thank you.

  6. My son is studying in 6th std,ICSE he feel the studies are tough, my friends r suggesting me to put him for CBSE, my son’s 2nd lang is kannada, we r in karnataka. do they have kannada as 2nd lang will it be my good decision to put him in CBSE… plz help me am confused.

  7. Dear madam/sir
    with respect
    i am manish i want to say that CBSE is better that ICSE not only beacause of its lighter course but IIT exams and all India based MEDICAL exams are totally based on CBSE syllabus and examination patterns therefore students studying in CBSE schools are in more benifit as compare ICSE students

  8. Dear Sir/Madem,
    If my son feels tough in ICSE syllabus at 5th standard, is it possible to join in CBSE syllabus from 6th standard.

  9. dear sanjay kpumar dey what is your last three years exam %
    i am sure it will be below your hockey level
    dear kid go ground and just play return to home and ask your father to feed you through out your life and let other brilliants to study

  10. dear sir/madam
    my child is 3yrs and we joined him in a IB school,for class LKG. he goes to school from this june.i am confused with CBSE & IB !. WHICH is better for my child FUTURE. AM CONFUSED. pls help me out. my child future is in your answer

  11. Hi Ma’am/Sir
    i have currently given my 10th CBSe exam and planning 2 opt for commerce and i want 2 change my school so which course would be preferable 2 me
    Thank U


  13. 😀 hi sir/mam i am anamika,i have given my 10th boards this year from sophia which is an icse i am very confused like i am thinking of changing my board from icse to cbse as i wanted to go for ca/cs/icwa means the account’s side so will it be a write decision or cbse better for this or icse plz tell
    thank u ❓ ❗ 😀 😐 😛 🙁 😕

  14. i m in tanzania citizen from india when v came here my son had passed grd 3 n wanted to put in grd 4 as v put him in gcse he 4 n 5 he did there n now i want to put him in cbse he will get admission there in grd 6 n need q s in maths science hindi eng to prepare him for enterance exam

  15. I feel ICSE is much better than CBSE.Though ICSE seems tougher it has more scope abroad and its enlish has more value and is more helpful and important for students.whereas CBSE on the other the other hand is much easier.Mostly CBSE sticks to the same questions given in the book in their examinations but on the other hand ICSE has many differnt books just for one subject which makes a child think through out his brain.always remember!!!!!!! ICSE syllabus not only helps the
    child in scoring marks but also increases his IQ at a really very fast rate.that’s all about it.Now its all up to you all.THANK YOU!! 😀 ICSE 💡

  16. sir\ma’am i have completed my 10th from an icse school i wanted to appear for iit or aieee in my future should i join a cbse school or not

  17. What is the age limitation to appear for class 10th final exams and for class 12th final exams?

  18. dear maam i am a student of class 10 ,and study in a well recognized school in gurgaon my school follows the ICSE structured-syllabus .My main aim is to join a good collage abroad many people have told me to do IB as it is more beneficial and also as my school has another branch for the students who would like to take IB. here is where the problem starts my schools IB branch doesnot have a lot of experience .What du u think i should do take my chances and enroll myself in IB or continue in ICSE.

  19. dear mam,ma cousin is in class 2 in maharashtra state board n now her parents are thinking of switching over to cbse or icse board can u plz tell which board will be scored 90+ in all these years.please answer early.thank you.

  20. Dear Sir/Madam,

    My daughter is in VI std having ICSE board. Overall we are ok with syllabus and teaching standard. In current school, there is a system of weekly test which is part of annual score. Every week they take 2 test papers due to which students are busy in preparation all the time and not able to spend time for any other activity. We are feeling that this creates burden on the student. Pl suggest your views whether we should continue in this board or change it to CBSE/SSC

  21. Dear Madam/Sir,

    Could you please suggest which board to select ICSE/CBSE/NIOS/IB/CISCE?. Could you please give us more info to take a best decision?

  22. My daughter is 3yrs old and i am a bangalorean pls suggest me which board should i go for CBSE/ICSE OR IGCSE.

    Thank u in advance.

  23. Dear sir\ madam,
    I want to tell everyone that a student who completes his study from ICSE board finds further studies much easier. But u should not get your child admitted to ICSE board in between his studies. A child will find it difficult to bear the syllabus unless he is studying in the board from starting. But one who studies in ICSE board definitely know more than a student studying in CBSE board. And the biggest advantage is that your child will have command in English if he studies in ICSE board.

  24. dear sir,
    In my daughters birth certificate her surname is missing and her fathers middle name is missing. will this create problem at the time of filling the 10th board form?

  25. dear sir/madam

    we are currently in uk.My son is in year 3, we are likely to move to India. which is better icse or cbse? Iam bit confused, with mixed opinions. My son is very good in academics. I want to give him the right education. kinldy suggest.

  26. trust me guys………cbse is the winner hands down……cbse has better and more detailed syllabus in comparison to icse……but the greatest advantage cbse students have is that is syllabus and study is ideal for entrance exams like iitjee and aieee……therefore max students from cbse end up being top engineers, doctors and officers in the country and abroad……i studied in central school k.v.i.i.t mumbai affiliated to cbse board…….and now i’m doing B.Tech in information technology!!!…….my advice to parents….send ur children to cbse if you want a bright future for ur children!!!

  27. hello sir/ madam,
    right now my both kids(one is in 3rd n other is in r ryan international school ICSE Board..since last yers school has started IGCSE i m little confuse..what to do should i continue d same board or shift to IGCSE ICSE has lots study burden compare to IGCSE
    but i m not sure abt IGCSE teachers who doing very imp role to study..qualified teachers problems r always common in Ryan..plz advice me what to do

  28. Ifeel that it is best to take the ICSE as 10th boards.CBSE or IB is a better choice for +2. The decision should also depend on where the student wants to continue his further studies. CBSE is better for the competitive exams in India.Students can take specialsupport for preparing for IIT etc through institutions like FIITJEE, Base etc.IB is quite intensive it is difficult to prepare for IIT and other competitive Indian exams while doing IB.

  29. Hello sir/mam
    i have just given my +1 exam from ICSE and i just want to take addmission in CBSE due to some family problems.
    I want to know that is it possible to migrate from ICSE to CBSE in +2..
    please rply me as soon as u can…………

    Vinay from chandigarh..

  30. @ T.K.S.Thathachari- There happens to be no strict limits in ICSE. I am currently giving my Icse board and happen to be only 15 years old =P

  31. 😉 Hi i am Rinki,
    Becoz ICSE is not recognize by indian govt. than if an problem arise for taking admission in IIT or IIM after 12th from ISCE.
    If ICSE syllabus is better than CBSE then why it is difficult for Indian competitive examination.

  32. my daughter presently studying in state board she is not doing well she need more attention and now we are shifting to
    other place where we trying for icse board whether this decision is correct or i should go for cbsc or state board
    please reply

  33. dear sir, i am from bangalore. My son is studying vi icse. He was shifted from state to icse from 4th std. he was studying well in state, but now, he is scoring average marks. i am confused whether to put him back in state or to continue in icse. kindly help me

  34. hi, pl try to understand we have to change our mindset now what children require is overall dev and now we are in this computer world let the child grow in free mind . i think icse pattern should change and not overburden children with loads of backdated syllabus

  35. Respected Sir/Madam,
    I am 😎 Shashikant 😎 ,who is confused what to take for the college study. I can’t decide whether I choose ICSE or CBSE. Which can make my future ❓ Moreover says that ICSE is tough but I say that it is not so easy but not much tough. Indian government gives CBSE the priority for giving jobs and ICSE not. 😯 This is what i listen from others. This is my futures’ question. 🙄 I don’t want to spoil my future. So please tell me coz i’m in great trouble. 😥

  36. I hav just appeard in my 10th board exams from ICSE Board but wanna switch CBSE. What should I do? PLZZZZZZZZZZ HELP 😐

  37. @Dhananjay.Please stop cracking jokes.This is a serious forum 😀 UP Board Exam :?:Just look at your sentence construction and spellings.Awful!! 🙄 UP board has ruined you and now you are ruining the potential students as their teacher….. 😆

  38. My daughter is 3yrs old and i am a bangalorean pls suggest me which board should i go for CBSE/ICSE. Could you please give us more info to take a best decision? ❓

  39. My daughter is 3yrs old and i am a bangalorean pls suggest me which board should i go for CBSE/ICSE. Could you please give us more info to take a best decision? ❓

  40. Let me tell you all depressed parents. Choosing the ISCE or CBSE will not make a 2 year old an engineer or IAS.

    Its pityful to see such confused grown ups.

    Real advice would be to send him to a good school, regardless of the syllabus. Adjusting or transferring of curriculum is of no serious consequence because this is HIGH SCHOOL for crying out loud.

    I am in the 12th doing ISC, and its in my opinion, that the CBSE would have made my life much easier academically and in choosing collages after 12th, but If i weren’t in ISC I would never have the brains to write this comment.

    -Best regards.

  41. i have a 3 yrs daughter im planning to put her in carmel schhol in bangalore for icse syllabus .is this my decission good.i want her to do her medical corse in abroad would this be good decission by taking icse

  42. Dear Sir/Madam , I m confussed to chhose the board cbse or icsc for my daughter aged 5yrs. kindly give me the suggession.

  43. my son is studying grade 1 for igcse school [ indian public school]in coimbatore. it suitable for iit and iim exam for this studying ? pls help me.or else i want to change cbse school? which is best school in coimbatore.

  44. Dear Sir/Madam , I m confussed to choose the board cbse or icsc for my Son aged 5yrs. kindly give me the suggession.

  45. I have a child completing her 3 years by January 2012 who is now getting ready to go to school.

    My aim is to sharpen her Commonsense and i want her to learn how to apply it in an appropriate situation throughout her life and become a successful women.

    Kindly let me know the which board of education will help to develop her commonsense(application oriented)and out of box thinking capabilities. Your answer will help me to admit her in the respective board that you will be suggesting.

    Thanks in advance and looking forward to your suggestion at the earliest.

  46. Dear Sir/Madam,
    I am quite confused about which board to choose for my son who is 4 years 6 months old.I want a balanced board which will cater a good syllabus which will enable my son to aspire two different types of exam namely IIT-JEE,PMT and Management(CAT & MAT).CBSE or CISCE which one will be more effective to pursue academics?There is a school in my vicinity which is CBSE affiliated but started just last year and don’t have the ready infrastructue or higher classe or any pass out batch.The CISCE affiliated school is 4 years old and IX is the highest class there but relatively better teaching and staff. Please let me know which school to choose from these two quickly as we have deadline from two schools of these two different boards within 5-6 days.

  47. hi,my daughter is 3 yreas old,i want her to go to school next year,i m confused between icse & cbse .i have heard that cbse is useful for compititive exams like iit,iim,ias etc.on the other side icse provides basic knoledge ,than how is it not useful for compititive exams?plz answer me properly.

  48. sir.
    my son is 4yrs old & iam in kolkotta.p/s suggest me which board should i go for cbse/icse,which school is better.

  49. cbse is an old method of teaching 😥 as compared to ICSE :mrgreen:
    which is far better
    aything which is of the governmentcant be trusted and most of the people who crack the enterences are icse students 😎

  50. Dear Sir,

    Pls suggest which borad is more useful and positive for Medical entrance CBSE OR ICSE, in which board I want to join my sister, who is studying now Std-2. I have a aim to put her in Medical carrer. But need the strong fundamental in schooling, that is why i am worried and pls assist. I will highly appriciate you..

  51. Me and my wife studied in an ICSE school and we have a 2 kids so obviously I will be sending them to an ICSE school.
    Though the syllabus is vast in ICSE but education wise its far better than CBSE. What I analysed after going through this forum is that if you send you child to CBSE board then it will be easier for the child to appear any competitive exam which is think is incorrect.Even students from ICSE board can do it and finally it also depends on the Child capability and interest and also the atmosphere of the house.


  53. hello every one this is aarly i have crossed my 8th standard in I.C.S.E school n now i am confused where to study my all next classes in a C.B.S.E school or in a I.C.S.Esschool plz help………………. 🙄 🙄 😕 😕 😕 😕 ➡ 😕

  54. Hi,

    My son has just finished his class X exams with a ICSE school from Navi Mumbai. He is inclined to opt for Physics-Chemistry-Biology-Maths-English in Class XI & XII so that he can compete for all India Pre Medical Entrance Test (Now known as NEET in 2014). He has already started attending the coaching tutorials with one of the leading preparation centre.

    Since his class X result is out, he is asking to change the Board to CBSE as he thinks (or his friends advising him) that CBSE Board curriculum is in line with NEET and is much easier as compare to ICSE Board. Also as per him ICSE syllabus is too vast as compare to what one needs to study to beat NEET. Is it true that CBSE syllabus is much easier & in line with NEET as compare to ICSE for the Class XI & XII? Kindly clarify on priority as he needs to take a decision soon.

  55. Here is my token cent of suggestion.
    I believe the most important thing is to check the school. CBSE school with great discipline, English speaking ambience and extracurricular activities would be the perfect which I will go for. There are thoughts ICSE school also better, but let me tell you either of them are good for your ward if the school itself is good. See the results (not one or two students scoring high marks, but overall), See if the school participates in Quizes, elocution, is willing to change with times, the students are doing good, teaches good values(Visit school few times to assess these). I have seen ICSE schools and CBSE doing equally good and at the same time seen ICSE school/ CBSE Schools having an average reputation. SO it really depends on the school per se and not board. Remember both ICSE and CBSE students fare excellently in any competitive exams like IIT,AIEEE, JEE, PMT, IAS IIM-CAT, MAT SAT etc.

  56. There is very good information in this article. I am appreciating your knowledge on the “CBSE Vs ICSE – The Right Choice For Your Child”. I am thankful to your article and your contend is very nice for the readers. Keep sharing your article in future also.

  57. i am cbse student…i am waitng 10th result..and i know in which sylabus to join either to do in cbse r icse…which helps me to get in to medical easily……..

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