CBSE vs ICSE – The Pros and Cons

There are two very different boards of education catering to the academic sector in India, and these are CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) and ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education). Although the subjects taught in both boards are the same, choosing the right board is essential because this can play a significant role in the student’s future.

Each board of education has its own set of pros and cons, and parents will have to make a calculated move taking their children’s strengths into consideration, as their future can be shaped only based on their interests.

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)

CBSE Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) was reconstituted in 1962, is a Board of Education for public and private schools, under the Union Government of India.

The Central Board of Secondary Education in India is the main board of education in India for school level education. This board of education conducts the All India Senior School Certificate Examination every year for students who complete their twelfth grade, and this examination serves as the basis for them to pursue their higher education, once out of school.

The board also annually conducts the AIEEE and AIPMT exam for admission to undergraduate courses in engineering/architecture and medical colleges in numerous colleges spread over India.


  1. CBSE syllabus helps with Engineering / Medical entrance exam as they cover complete syllabus for both. Most of the Indian competitive exams are based on the CBSE syllabus. These examinations include the Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE), the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) and the All India Pre Medical Test (AIPMT).
  2. The CBSE syllabus is easier when compared to that of other boards, mainly due to fewer subjects and a more compact structure. CBSE is relatively easier compared to ICSE. ICSE syllabus are little lengthy with more examination papers.
  3. A certificate from the Central Board of Education is recognized throughout the country, in all colleges and academic centers. The syllabus is more application based under CBSE, as the board follows a concentric curriculum. Science and Maths is almost the same compared to ICSE.



  1. Not much focus is laid on inculcating practical knowledge in students. The CBSE syllabus also does not lay as much emphasis on core English knowledge as its counterpart does, choosing to lay more importance on the disciplines of mathematics and science.
  2. The subjects in a CBSE syllabus are approached in a theoretical manner, and true emphasis is not laid on real-life concepts behind the science. Although the syllabus is application oriented, it does not provide room for effective understanding.

Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE)

CISCE The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) was set up in 1956, is a private, non-governmental board of school education in India. The Council conducts the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE), the Indian School Certificate (ISC) and the Certificate of Vocational Education, Examinations.

The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education was first established by the Local Examinations Syndicate of the University of Cambridge. The syllabus followed by ICSE schools differs vastly from that followed in CBSE schools mainly in terms of content and volume.


  1. The syllabus followed by the ICSE board is more comprehensive and complete, encompassing all fields with equal importance.
  2. Students who are interested in careers in the lines of management and humanities will find the curriculum followed under ICSE to be more interesting and challenging, not to mention fruitful. ICSE offers more atypical courses like home science, agriculture, fashion design, cookery etc. The exposure to atypical courses may help a child see beyond the obvious career choices.
  3. ICSE gives a good command over language and has 2 papers in English.ICSE curriculum focuses a lot on language and literature proficiency, hence suitable for students aspiring for GRE, TOEFL, GMAT examinations
  4. Certification under the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education board will be recognized around the world, particularly by foreign schools and universities when compared to the central board’s local margin. The syllabus is compatible amongst the common wealth countries.


  1. Students may find the syllabus to be too extensive for their liking, as an average student practising under an ICSE board will face thirteen subjects/examinations during the sixth grade, when compared to the six subjects faced by the student’s counterpart in a CBSE affiliated school.
  2. Although an ICSE syllabus can facilitate deeper understanding and better life skills and analytical skills, pursuing further education may prove to be a problem due to a lack of leniency in evaluating papers after an ISC examination.

Add a Review

Rate this by clicking a star below:

Related posting

  • School Affiliation

    Want to know whether your child is studying in a recognized school? And if it is CBSE, ICSE or a state board? One can check whether the… Read more »