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What is the difference between CBSE, ICSE, Stateboard syllabus in matriculation?

Do you want to know what is the difference between CBSE and ICSE metric syllabus? Read the experts views on the difference between state and central board, and the advantages of studying under CBSE syllabus.

Education in India is very highly dependent on the syllabus offered and most parents choose schools based on the syllabus it offers rather than on the kind of education imparted by the school.
Schools in India offer both Indian and International syllabi some of which are:

National – CBSE – Central Board of Secondary Education.
ICSE– Indian Certificate of Secondary Education
State Board– Approximately 30 State Boards.
International –Cambridge UniversityPrograms.
IBO Programs and a few others such as – Ontario from Canada, EDEXCEL- From UK.

Why and how CBSE ?

Started by the NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) with the aim to operate a chain of central schools (Kendriya Vidyalaya) that could cater to government employees who are in transferable jobs that involve mid year movements.
A number of private schools have started to offer CBSE since a number of private sector employees are also moving place to place
The CBSE Syllabus is very structured, highly predictable and, highly controlled
All national entrance examinations are conducted as per this syllabus.
A number of changes have been incorporated lately, the prominent decision being to make board examination at the end of Grade -10 optional
Board exams conducted:
Grade-10 (Optional )
Grade-12 (Mandatory)

ICSE – Indian School Certificate Examinations

An offshoot of the Cambridge IGCSE that existed during the British regime was taken over by the Anglo Indian Board and is now governed by the ‘Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations’.
Has taken in a lot of structures from the NCERT
At Grade-10 as of now is the toughest board examination
Almost similar to CBSE in terms of controls, difference being this is quasi Government.
Board Exams conducted:
ICSE – Grade-10
ISC- Grade-12

State Boards

Each state has its own variance from the NCERT syllabus and adds up its local flavor. State government predominantly dictates languages taught and medium of instruction.
Relatively easy syllabus for board exams.
Age is another factor that varies from state to state.
As per the new government directive, many state boards have adopted the NCERT syllabus for Math and Science in Grades 11 and 12. This move is aimed at a common entrance examination for Engineering and Medical colleges which is expected soon.
Board Exams Conducted:
Grade-12 (Also called P U- Pre University).
Some states also conduct a Board Exam in Grade-8.

Alternate education

National Open School- Highly suited for students who have Learning difficulties or who are involved in other activities such as Sports at National / International level. Accepted as equal to other streams.

International Education–

IBO– Three levels PYP (Primary Years Program -Up to Grade-5), MYP (Middle Years Program – Grade 6 to 10), IB Diploma (Grade 11 and 12). IBO conducts an External Exam only for Diploma; School assesses other programs. Currently there is a plan for introduction of External exam at Grade-10 level (Completion of MYP).
Cambridge Program– Currently focused on IGCSE at 9 &10 and A Level at 12 Grade (Also commencing Cambridge Diploma Program at Grade-12).
Biggest advantage of International curriculum is freedom offered in delivery of curriculum.
This provides opportunity to school to try innovative approach to help children understand concepts than just follow textbook teaching.
Assessments can be differentiated and thus learning can be made fun.


Both CBSE and ICSE have nationwide same syllabus while state board and matriculation follow a different pattern for each state.
CBSE or Central Board of Secondary Education is the most popular school board in India and is widely spread across all states. The exams are conducted for both private and regular students in two languages- English and Hindi. Indian Government recognises CBSE board and the new initiatives of the Government to introduce grading system are a proof of it. The CBSE syllabus is aimed at meeting the needs of various entrance exams including the medical and engineering stream. The CBSE board conducts exams at the end of the year to judge the performance of students and award them marks and grades to proceed to the next section. The syllabus is common nationwide.

ICSE or Indian School Certificate Examination is popular among Indians as equivalent to the Senior School Examination of the University of Scotland. That implies that a student will not be required to complete bridging course or obtain A level qualification while trying to join universities in UK and Commonwealth. This board is not recognised by the Government though the qualification is accepted globally like CBSE. The medium of instructions in only English and the number of ICSE schools are much lesser than CBSE schools in India. The ICSE focuses on detailed study with greater focus on internal assessments and practicals. The results are declared after considering the exam results and the results of the internal assessments and practical study. The board does not allow students who do not study in ICSE affiliated schools to take up the ICSE exams, that is private candidates are not allowed to write ICSE exams. The syllabus is common nation wide.

State board syllabus is designed by the Department of Education of the concerned State Government. That implies that the syllabus changes for every state of India. Each state government looks after educational issues pertaining to this system. The level of education of state boards is considered easier than CBSE and ICSE boards. They try to accommodate even students with lower IQ to complete their schooling successfully. They do not focus on competency for entrance examinations of medical and engineering. However, the engineering and medical colleges are instructed to allocate higher number of seats for state board students than CBSE/ICSE students. These students have been found to struggle with their studies in the first year of college education as the standard of education goes up suddenly.

Matriculation board is set up by the matriculation board of a particular state and this board conducts examinations only upto class X. The next two years of examination are shifted to the state board syllabus. The matriculation standard is considered higher than the state board syllabus but lower than CBSE/ICSE. The method of education is based on rote learning and textual content is emphasised. Analytical thinking is lesser among these students but this is preferred to state board due to the better level of education.




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