The moment a child enters pre-school the parents are haunted by this question – Which board should we choose for our kid? Our parents had it easy! Nobody ever worried about board. Proximity to the school, the school reputation and the kind of teaching undertaken were the only concerns. The closer the school the better was the simple mantra. But today apart from this we need to consider a lot of other things before finalizing a school

So if you are battling this question currently, read on to find your answer here. We have tried to compile the information around all boards in one post to help you decide better.

CBSE AND ICSE – National Boards

The two public boards which have established the maximum number of schools outside India are CBSE and ICSE. Over the current decade, CBSE has come up with great variety in its pattern. It now concentrates on an application-based education. Most students who study in the CBSE board choose the Engineering or Medicine streams because CBSE prepares children well for all-India entrance exams like NEET-JEE.

The CBSE curriculum focuses more on fundamental subjects like math and science, while ICSE provides a supplementary focus on languages. If you want your ward to go abroad for higher studies, the IB board is necessary. And yet, IB schools are steadily “international” schools and therefore are expensive compared to the other boards.

ICSE board schools focus uniformly on literature, art and mathematics and there are numerous opportunities and options for students to choose from. There is also variety in the study material to learn from. Experts say that CBSE students have an advantage over the others when it comes to preparing for UPSC and additional civil service exams, whereas for international entrance exams like SAT and TOEFL, students from the ICSE board are better prepared than those from CBSE due to more focus on English grammar and writing.


For further understanding, here are the strengths and weaknesses of each board.

CBSE Board


  • Students have an edge over others in NEET and JEE exams as they are based on the NCERT curriculum followed by CBSE.
  • It is convenient for people with transferable jobs.
  • Vocational subjects like law and mass media are taught in high school.
  • The curriculum is updated annually.


  • There is no “easy” math option.
  • There are limited opportunities for vocational subjects at the undergraduate level.
  • Students must study the entire syllabus, unlike in some boards which offer selection.
  • Many schools do not offer class XI and XII, forcing students to shift to other boards.

ISC (ICSE) Board


  • Curriculum is well-researched.
  • It encourages critical thinking and discourages rote learning.
  • More focus is given to English than in other Indian boards.
  • Students are widely accepted by foreign universities.
  • Gives sound footing for competitive exams.


  • The detailed curriculum can be taxing.
  • Not all schools offer the same subjects, making transfers difficult.
  • The exam system is not student-friendly.
  • Admissions to state junior colleges are tough as the government supports the state board.

State Board


  • Schools and colleges are socially and economically inclusive as the government grants them aid.
  • The curriculum is less demanding than other national and international boards.
  • It supervises setting up schools, colleges and admissions and gets favorable treatment from the education department.
  • It has wider access.


  • The student-teacher ratio can reach 80-100:1. This slows the implementation of new teaching tools and makes experimentation difficult.
  • The curriculum is not updated regularly.
  • A rigid high school syllabus forces students to study subjects grouped together in a stream.
  • The textbooks are often riddled with errors.

IGSCE And IB Boards


  • Encourage critical thinking, not rote learning.
  • It is easier for students to go abroad for studies as well as jobs.
  • The student-teacher ratio is low.
  • The syllabus is reviewed every 5 years.


  • The fees is very high.
  • Timelines and skill sets are not in sync with the entrance exams in India.
  • Attendance requirements are strict.

While this is not an exhaustive comparison, we have distilled important differentiators to help you decide better. Hope you find these pointers helpful while deciding a school for your child. Whatever board is chosen, it is important that the child finds his schooling journey enriching to truly grow into a better version of self.

  1. thociya banu 3 years ago

    Hi All,

    Can some one answer to my question?

    Are the syllabus and subjects of icse are matching/same with igcse(cambridge)?

  2. ALAKANANDA 4 years ago

    Very useful an article.

    I have some queries regarding IGSCE board. How is the scope and standard of the syllabus compared to ICSE and CBSE boards? I mean are the topics covered and the level of indepthness in IGCSE curriculum comparable to that of ICSE and CBSE boards? Is the IGCSE syllabus content and knowledge wise good enough as ICSE?

  3. Garv Sharma 4 years ago

    Very useful information.

  4. Gungun Jadhav 4 years ago

    We are planning to switch boards for our kid next year, but weren’t sure whether how to choose and if we were making a right decision. This comparison helps a lot. Thank you!

  5. Aarush Rastogi 4 years ago

    Well-drafted and detailed writeup. My nephew will begin his formal schooling this year and his parents were quite confused which board to choose. This article will clear their doubts. Thank you.

  6. Fatima Khatun 4 years ago

    Good comparison. Allpoints are covered

  7. Varsha Agarwal 4 years ago

    Thank you for a comprehensive guide about the school boards. It will definitely help parents while choosing a school for their children.

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