Education, Travel Destinations, Working Mothers

CBSE, ICSE, IGCSE : What’s the difference?


Many of our community moms have posted questions on whats the difference between the boards of education that we follow in chennai and which is the best.

I came across an article that tells the difference between the education board: CBSE, ICSE, IGCSE. Please feel free to add whatever you know about these boards of education as well as the other boards like Matriculation and State board.


The Central Board of Secondary Education is an eminent board of school education in India. The CBSE prepares the syllabus for classes 9 to 12 in schools affiliated with it. It conducts two major examinations every year, the All India Secondary School Examination (AISSE) for class 10 and the All India Senior School Certificate Examination (AISSCE) for class 12, which is a school-leaving examination. Many private schools within and outside India are afiilicated to CBSE. The medium for education prescribed by CBSE is either English or Hindi. For class 10, students have to study 5 sujects for 500 marks. The CBSE also conducts the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE), which is a common entrance examination conducted on all-India basis for admission to engineering and architecture/planning programmes in the country. Similarly Pre-medical and Pre-dental Tests AIPMT (PMT/PDT) are conducted for medical and dental colleges.


 The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) examination is an examination conducted by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations for class 10. It has been designed to provide an examination in a course of general education, in accordance with the recommendations of the New Education Policy 1986(India), through the medium of English. Private candidates are not permitted to appear for this examination. In all subjects other than science and computers, students must submit compulsory course-work assignments. In groups I and II, they count for 20% of the student’s performance in the subject; in group III, the assignments count for 50% of the performance. In science and computers, students are tested on their lab work. In subjects with more than one paper, the mark in the subject is calculated by taking the average of all papers in the subject. Overall, students have to study 11 subjects.


The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is designed as a 2-yr curriculum programme leading to a certificate internationally recognised as an equivalent of the British GCSE and International GCE ‘O’ Level examinations. The IGCSE provides a foundation for high-level courses, such as the North American Advanced Placement Test (APT), International Baccalaureate (IB); GCE ‘A’ levels and the Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE), which has been designed as a pre-university course of study progressive from IGCSE. The AICE and the IGCSE together constitute a fully-integrated curriculam for students in their last four years of secondary education.

The IGCSE and the AICE are administered by the University of Cambridge, England. It covers subjects from a variety of areas, including languages, Humanities, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Creative, Technical and Vocational. Most OGCSE subjects offer a choice of core or extended papers in Cambridge, and foundation or higher papers in Edexcel. This is designed to make IGCSE suitable for students with varying levels of ability. In some subjects, IGCSE can be taken with or without coursework, making it suitable for schools with less specialised staff. The IGCSE allows teaching to be placed in a localised context, making it relevant in different regions. It is intended to be suitable for students whose first language may not be English and this is acknowledged throughout the examination progress.

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