International Boards vs CBSE and ICSE

Last updated on Thursday, January 05, 2017

While you contemplate between the boards - CBSE or ICSE, International Boards are setting new standard of education in a very different and innovative way. Let’s have a detailed look at these two education boards in India and how they differ from CBSE and ICSE Boards

IB - International Baccalaureate
As compared to both CBSE and ICSE Boards, IB provides much more flexibility and freedom in choosing subjects. The teaching methods are different from that of CBSE and ICSE as they are stress free and fostering collaboration rather than competition. The focus is on all round development rather than pure academic performance which become a necessity for both ICSE and CBSE. IB aims to develop knowledgeable young people who have intercultural respect and understanding in contrast to the traditional cut-throat Indian education system focused on producing theoretical genius as seen in CBSE and ICSE. IB, being a little expensive, is accepted by most Indian Universities. AIU (Association of Indian Universities) has already accorded equivalence to International Baccalaureate Diploma and is accepted by Indian Universities. Although, one small concern would be that moving to other board would be tricky should the need arise as students may find it difficult to adapt to the conventional curriculum including performing in board exams in India.
IGCSE board - International General Certificate of Secondary Education
With 70 subjects to offer, including 30 languages, schools with this board can offer in any combination which in turn allows great flexibility for students unlike CBSE or ICSE. Grades are bench marked using eight internationally recognized grades, A+ to G with clear guidelines to explain the standard of achievement which allows students to not take pressure of results subjected by marks in numbers. One shortcoming would be that if students try to switch to CBSE or ICSE board, they may require some additional coaching.
IGCSE seems to offer an excellent student-centered curriculum to a wide variety of children of different abilities. It has adequate academic focus and develops skills in creative thinking, inquiry and problem solving, giving students excellent preparation to succeed in +2 years and the life ahead.


To conclude, my analysis of the different education boards in India, I would like to mention that while choosing the right board is pertinent; it boils down to the actual school and their interest level in teaching the child than the syllabus itself. One school of thought is to choose a school and/or board for life while the other is to shift based on the needs of the child. For example, for someone not particularly gearing to become an engineer or doctor, a possible direction could be starting off with a CBSE or ICSE curriculum till grade 8 and then switching to IGCSE for grade 9 & 10 and then finally going on to complete the IB Diploma Programme. This will offer the standardization of more traditional curriculum in earlier classes, the solidness and acceptability of the most popular International curriculum and the flexibility and breadth in the most senior classes. To achieve something like this one would need to look for a school that offers IGCSE and IB Diploma Programme as options in higher classes or shift schools at those junctures. To contrast, people who have their eyes set on the engineering or medical degrees, the variation could be a full CBSE curriculum throughout or with IGCSE just during the 9 & 10 grade for more completeness and switching back to CBSE for their +2 qualification.