ICSE vs CBSE: Which is better? | TOP 5 Differences and Similarities

ICSE vs CBSE: Which is better? | TOP 5 Differences and Similarities


Many parents are asking questions like "Which board is the best: CBSE or ICSE?", "What's the difference between CBSE and ICSE boards?", or "Which board should I choose to help my child get more marks, CBSE or ICSE?" These questions are common among parents who are trying to decide the best schooling option for their children.

We understand this confusion, and that's why we've written a blog article for you. In this article, we explain the key differences between the ICSE and CBSE boards, their benefits, and what they have in common.


What is the ICSE board?

ICSE stands for Indian Certificate of Secondary Education ( ICSE ). ICSE is actually the exam conducted by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations for class 10 students. Thus, Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations or CISCE is a non-governmental, private school education board established in 1958. At school level, the CISCE conducts three examinations annually, namely, the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education or ICSE - Class X; The Indian School Certificate or ISC - Class XII and the Certificate in Vocational Education CVE - Year 12.


What is the CBSE board?

The Central Board of Secondary Education or the CBSE is a national level board of education in India for private and public schools. It is managed and controlled by the Indian Government. The board gives affiliation to roughly 26,054 schools in India and 240 schools in foreign countries. The CBSE is amongst the most popular education boards in India and schools affiliated to the CBSE strictly follow the NCERT curriculum.


ICSE vs CBSE: Curriculum and Syllabus Structure

When we look at the syllabus and curriculum, the ICSE and CBSE boards are quite different. Both boards have their own set of subjects and focus areas. CBSE offers a balanced mix of subjects like Mathematics, Science, Social Science, and Languages, along with a variety of electives such as Fine Arts, Computer Science, and Physical Education.

On the other hand, the ICSE also provides a similar range of subjects with a focus on English language proficiency, Literature, and Environmental Education.

As we can see, each board has its own strengths and plays a key role in shaping a bright future for students.


ICSE vs CBSE: TOP 5 Differences and Similarities

Here we will explore the top 5 differences and similarities between ICSE and CBSE board, making it easier for parents to take informed decisions about their child’s education.

1. ICSE vs CBSE: Syllabus

If we take a closer look, the differences in the syllabus between the CBSE and ICSE boards are quite significant and easy to spot. As mentioned earlier, the CBSE syllabus concentrates on science and mathematics. It includes detailed studies in physics, chemistry, and biology.

ICSE offers a wide range of languages and subjects to study like – English, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, and creative subjects like agriculture, home science, humanities, arts, and cooking. The quality of education imparted by ICSE in English Language and Literature is highly appreciated nationwide because of the general notion that ICSE board focuses more on teaching English.

2. ICSE vs CBSE: Medium of Instruction

The medium of instruction is a crucial factor to consider when choosing an educational board. CBSE does not prioritize any particular language, supporting education in both English and Hindi. On the other hand, ICSE give more importance to the English language. This again can be beneficial for students in future competitive exams. A significant advantage of ICSE over CBSE is its dedication to literature and language skills, which greatly contributes to the overall skill and personality development of the child.

3. ICSE vs CBSE: Challenges of Board Transfers

According to the CBSE board, there are 24,000 schools affiliated with them, including over 200 schools in 26 countries. On the other hand, ICSE has around 2,000 affiliated schools, mostly in India. CBSE students have an easier time transferring schools because there are more options available worldwide. However, ICSE students have fewer choices for transferring schools, mainly limited to India, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and UAE.

4. ICSE vs CBSE: Competitive Edge

When it comes to competitive advantage, parents can choose either CBSE or ICSE as both boards are great in their own ways. For national-level entrance exams like IIT-JEE and NEET, CBSE students may have an edge because the syllabus is more informative and theoretical, making it easier to approach these exams. On the other hand, ICSE students benefit from a deeper and more analytical syllabus, which prepares them well for any national or international competitive exam like TOEFL, IELTS, and SAT.

5. ICSE vs CBSE: Scholarships

Scholarships are an important factor to consider when choosing between CBSE and ICSE boards because this can help students from financially weaker backgrounds. CBSE, being a government-affiliated board, offers a wide range of scholarships to its students. This makes CBSE Schools as a whole widely accessible for students from weaker financial backgrounds

On the other hand, ICSE does not directly provide scholarships. Instead, it's up to the individual affiliated schools to decide if they want to introduce scholarship programs or not. This approach means that ICSE schools are generally less accessible to students from financially weaker backgrounds.

ICSE vs CBSE: which is better for the future ?


Both ICSE and CBSE boards are well-known in India. ICSE is a private Indian board, often seen as a more affordable option for international schools with an international syllabus. CBSE, on the other hand, is a national board accepted by students from all financial backgrounds. With the proper planning, students can do well in any board, whether its CBSE or ICSE. Many feel that those aiming for JEE or NEET usually prefer CBSE, while those interested in literature or studying abroad lean towards ICSE.


All things considered, based on their advantages and disadvantages, now parents can choose which board is most suitable for their child based on all factors. Both the boards offer good quality education, so depending on what you want for your child in future, you can finally take a decision. Remember, individual studies and efforts matter more than just the board. Regardless of the board, your child can do well and shine in their career with constant and diligent effort.

NewAge World School is one of the top ICSE schools in North Bangalore. We are known for our excellent education and top-notch teaching. You can trust us with your child's education because we make sure they are in good hands.


We are now taking admissions for the 2024-25 academic year. If you want to learn more about our school or the admission process, please visit our website at Join us to give your child the best start in their education journey!

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