Difference between ICSE and CBSE

Last updated on Monday, March 28, 2016

A proper understanding of both the Education Board in India is necessary if you are fighting the urge to select the right board for your child. The correct answer for CBSE vs ICSE is yet to be found by many new parents. Hope the difference between ICSE and CBSE mentioned below can help you in some way.

CBSE Board or Central Board of Secondary Education can be universally applicable to every student in the Indian context. It is competitive or result (exam) oriented in its approach. Its strong Science and Math focus makes it an ideal choice for pursuing higher education in medical, architecture and engineering fields in India.

CISCE (ICSE, ISC) is skills development, independent research and creativity oriented in its approach, making it a close proxy for international curriculums. With its syllabus being more comprehensive and structured and its focus on language, art & science make it a good choice for students looking to pursue management and humanities based higher education in India or aboard. See the table to get more ideas about the difference between ICSE and CBSE Education Boards in India.

Difference between ICSE and CBSE

 CBSE BoardICSE Board
Education FocusMore emphasis on Science subjects and MathematicsStrong emphasis on English with equal focus to art and science.
Career BuildingFor students who want to pursue a career in medical or engineering.Exposure to range of courses help children see beyond obvious career choices. More choice and freedom to students in deciding subjects.
RecognitionRecognized by all universities in India.Wide recognition of board results across colleges in India and even abroad.
LearningMemory rather than knowledge based curriculum leads to cramming, rote learning & text book feeding.Focuses on the child’s overall growth and is application based which does not require rote learning.  Aims to be student-friendly.
CurriculumPrescriptive textbook based curriculum hampers creativity.

Practical knowledge helps in building analytical skills in students.


Syllabus volumeLesser syllabus in terms of volume.

Heavier course load in terms of volume.


The difference between ICSE and CBSE Boards is quite evident. CBSE Board is known for reforming itself for students benefit. Not much importance was given to personality development earlier in CBSE Board but now students are given plenty of opportunities to nurture talent in different areas, which makes it more vibrant. ICSE Board/ISC Board helps students in their overall growth. It is quite flexible when it comes to giving a choice of educational field students want to pursue in future.

If you are still in a dilemma as to which school board is better for your child, the article drawing a comparison between CBSE and ICSE might help.