What is the Difference between CBSE and ICSE Board?

Education being the prime concern of every parent in India often they remain inquisitive about the best board to choose. The predicament of choosing the right board starts once the child becomes eligible to resume educational journey. Selection of the right board is imperative as it forms the foundation of your kid and his/her growth as an intelligent and responsible individual. The education system of India is based on two main boards CBSE and ICSE. CBSE refers to Central Board of Secondary Education and ICSE denotes Indian Certificate of Secondary Education. Seeing the popularity and significance of both the boards, it is really difficult to say that one board is better than the other. However, a comparative analysis of both the boards including the differences will definitely help you to make a decision. Let us take a look into “What is the difference between CBSE and ICSE board?”.

Nature of the Curriculum

CBSE syllabus is a structured one and all national examinations are conducted as per this syllabus. On the other hand, ICSE syllabus is a detailed one with more focus on diverse subjects. The schools under ICSE have followed the structure of NCERT.

Medium of teaching

The schools under CBSE board are allowed using Hindi and English as the medium of instruction. These schools lay equal importance to Hindi along with English. However, the ICSE led schools does not have Hindi as medium of instruction and follow English as the only medium of teaching. ICSE schools emphasize on improving communication skill with a vast know-how of English vocabulary.

Utility of the Course

The course outline prepared by CBSE backs a student for qualifying varied national level entrance examination, like IIT and JEE with more emphasis on science based subjects. On the other hand, the syllabus of ICSE prepares a student to confront higher study related entrance like TOEFL and GRE with providing them an edge over expertise on English language and applied science.


Regarding the recognition of the both the board, there lies a vast difference. The CBSE board is recognized by Indian Government, while ICSE is not. If you are looking for an easily available board in all over states of India, then CBSE tops the list. Though the certificates provided by both the boards are recognized globally, yet the numbers of ICSE led schools are less in India in comparison to that of CBSE approved schools. There are many states where CBSE schools are in abundance and ICSE schools rare to find.

Choice of Subjects

The students of ICSE schools have more choices of subjects with an added list that comprises environmental science, applied science, arts, etc. They have an advantage of selecting different subjects with more weight on English language and literature. Whereas, in CBSE led schools, the selection of subjects are restricted. Here, students have to follow the academic subjects only with stress on hands on knowledge.

Future Perspective

With differences of methodologies and curriculum both CBSE and ICSE varies in regards of preparing a student. The subjects and portions of an ICSE approved school are designed in an elaborative and detailed way with more lab work. Thus, it prepares a pupil to pursue his/her career in management streams. On the other hand, CBSE board puts more stress on the subjects like physics, chemistry, and mathematics and prepares the students for careers like Engineering and Medical.


Frequent student assessments are part and parcel of an ICSE led school. In these schools, practical tests are conducted time to time. This has been done to keep students engaged with lab work. In comparison to this, CBSE schools follow flexible norms of assessment.

Acceptance of the Curriculum

The curriculum of ICSE has a worldwide acceptance and the certificate given by an ICSE led school is recognized across the globe. It gives an added bonus of excellent verbal and linguistic skill to its students. ICSE board schools are best for those parents who have to move in different countries for the sake of job and search for international schools. A student passed from an ICSE school remains confident to face the foreign study related entrance examination than a student passed out from the CBSE board.

Thus, from the above comparison it has been clear that both the boards, CBSE and ICSE have their own pros and cons. You as a parent have to decide which board to take up on basis of your child’s future aspiration. Though there are significant differences, yet both are recognized in India and the main subjects taught are same with high standard of quality.