The Unending Battle Of CBSE And ICSE In India

CBSE and ICSE are some of the most recognised boards in India. Many parents are doubtful whether to enrol their children in CBSE or ICSE Board? ICSE full form is the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education, and CBSE stands for Central Board of Secondary Education. Both the boards differ in terms of education patterns, learning outcomes, and some more factors.

The ICSE and CBSE Boards ensure that students receive a high-quality, rigorous education that prepares them for college, careers, and life after high school. However, both of these boards have advantages and disadvantages.

The difference between ICSE and CBSE is, CBSE focuses on theoretical concepts, and ICSE focuses on practical knowledge. Furthermore, the ICSE syllabus is more complex than the CBSE syllabus because it provides in-depth and practical knowledge. ICSE also aims to help students improve their analytical skills. While the CBSE prepares students for national-level competitive examinations within India, the ICSE prepares students for exams outside of India.

Syllabus – If you look at the syllabus, you will find that the CBSE board syllabus will be helpful if you are preparing for competitive exams like JEE or NEET etc. Because CBSE Syllabus is much better in theoretical knowledge, but ICSE syllabus has the upper hand when it comes to practical knowledge.

Level of Ease – CBSE Syllabus is much easier, well structured, and compact than ICSE Syllabus. While ICSE follows a higher English language level than the other boards, CBSE does not have a particular English language preference. A higher level of English language in ICSE assists students in performing better in exams like TOEFL.

Acceptability – CBSE Board marks are widely accepted in nearly all universities, irrespective of the course you are opting for. For foreign schools and universities, ICSE Certification is preferred.

Level of Explanation – ICSE Syllabus is considered more extensive, an advantage for some but a disadvantage for others. CBSE syllabus is found to be more precise and to the point.

Difficulty Level – ICSE Syllabus is considered to be more difficult than CBSE. The ICSE syllabus has more internal assessments and concepts that can be applied to practicals.

Transferability – When it comes to travelling frequently, it is better to choose CBSE because you won’t find more ICSE schools in the country.

Range of Subjects – The range of the subjects that ICSE covers is huge. ICSE offers a variety of languages like English, Hindi, Kanada, Tamil, Telugu and others. ICSE even has Fashion Design, Agriculture, Home Science and Cookery for creative minds. ICSE syllabus can be your best option if you aspire to become an athlete, visual artist, or scientist.

Grading System – The Grading System for CBSE is Alphabetical based. For ICSE, the marks are shown in numbers, which gives students a clear idea of how much they have scored.

Regular and Private Candidates – Students who do not belong to CBSE affiliated schools or non-regular candidates can appear for CBSE Exams. But the same is not valid for ICSE. Students have to be from ICSE affiliated schools to appear for ICSE exams.

Pros and Cons of CBSE

Most of the competitive exams like JEE Main, NEET are based on the syllabus of the CBSE Board.

The syllabus of the CBSE Board is much easier when compared to ICSE. CBSE syllabus has a more compact structure and fewer subjects. Secondary subjects are not mandatory.

Subjects like Physics, Chemistry, and Biology are categorized under Science and History, Geography, and Civics under Social Science.

CBSE schools are more in the country. So if your parents have to transfer from one city to another, then CBSE is the right choice for you.

CBSE syllabus lays more importance on subjects like science and mathematics.


Even though there are practical subjects, the focus is not on practical knowledge. Core English Language has not been the primary focus of CBSE board compared to other boards.

In CBSE, all the subjects are handled only in a theory-based manner, and there is less importance on real-life concepts.

Despite application playing a significant role in the CBSE Syllabus, it pays less emphasis on in-depth understanding.

Pros and Cons of ICSE

A more comprehensive and complete syllabus is followed by ICSE Board covering all subjects with equal importance.

Those students who would like to pursue a career in management and humanities will find ICSE more exciting and worthwhile.

ICSE certificates are recognized and followed across the globe, especially by foreign schools and universities compared to CBSE certificates.

Since more importance is given to English, students have the upper hand in exams like TOEFL.

Students get more flexibility when it comes to selecting specific subjects.


Students might feel that the subjects are more extensive and can burden some.

Although the syllabus is extensive, which can be helpful for future education, when it comes to ISC Exam, the checking is more strict, affecting the marks.

Rucha S Khot.

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