The board game of education in India

Every parent goes through this dilemma in India. Should my child study in CBSE, ICSE, IB or State Board? Which is the best to help him or her develop a good personality or become academically strong and clear competitive examinations in flying colours? Well, do we need 4 different school boards?

CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) is the most popular board with over 9000 affiliated schools in India and present in 21 countries. The board places emphasis on Science and Math. There is more relevance built in with application based subjects and you are never far from a CBSE school anywhere in India or abroad.

To start with, ICSE board exam is actually known as CISCE (Council of Indian School Certificate Examination) which adapts the University of Cambridge’s examination system to India and conducts 3 exams – ICSE for class 10 (Indian Certificate Secondary Education); ISC for class 12 (Indian School Certificate); CVE for class 12 (Certificate for Vocational Education). This CISCE board has equal focus on science, art and languages and offers various subjects or topics for class 12. It has wide recognition in India and abroad.

Every state in India has its own State Board of education which conducts certificate examination for mostly class 10 & class 12. Easy to find a school inside the state, the board covers syllabus that have topics and content of local relevance too. Most government run, these schools are very affordable.

International Baccalaureate (IB) is present in over 141 countries. Mostly used by elite schools, they delve on all round development of the child with a focus on inquiry and innovative learning & teaching methods. They believe in stress-free education and it’s easy for the child to find admission and adapt to any location in the world.     


So what’s the issue? Forget reservation, it is still survival of the fittest. But all these boards finally meet at the same point for the competitive exams. So whichever board you study in, you have to answer the same set of questions that will finally decide what you are going to do in life. The other discrepancy is taking into account the marks scored by the student in class 12. While in some states, 99 percent is a breeze, even 90% could put one on the merit list in another region. And, in some places, children have no choice but to score cent per cent! But these marks have started playing a role in your selection, so you can’t run away from them. In the public exams, CBSE may decide to test you in 5 exams, while ICSE may give 11. Same subjects, different twists!

What people perceive: So if you want marks, choose State Board. If you want proficiency in Science & Math, choose CBSE. If you want an overall impact, choose ICSE. And if you want to be an out of the box student, go the IB way. Where it actually stands: Whatever board you choose, you give the same competitive examinations to choose your professional stream! So if a child is not equipped with the final goals in mind, it is going to be a little turbulent, till he or she finds his way out of this puzzle.

What should we be aiming at: Nowadays there is a deeper understanding on the options available and the needs of the child. So concept based learning is important, creative thinking helps, analytical approach opens you up and the curiosity to ask questions will make sure your fundamentals get solid.

Efundu believes in stress-free learning with visual aids, so whether it helps to learn, revise or just engage, you can be sure the child’s mind is absorbing information with a free mind. A mind that converses in the language the child knows and absorbs knowledge that makes you understand, not just condition it. This approach is very critical in the primary years, to help the child choose what it wants to do, maybe art, maybe math or maybe humanities.

Because at the end of it all, the facts of science and the mysteries of math or the wonders of nature manifest as they are, whichever board of education you use.



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