Which board of education to choose? That is a question that occurs to every parent who happens to have a choice. Now as the nation is developing the numbers of parents with such choice is bound to grow. There are various opinions that end up shaping the choice of the parents with regard to the education board.
A variant of the same question is faced by people planning to start a school in any of the states in India. The school promoters have labored under the question whether to start a school affiliated to the CBSE or the ICSE. There are several factors to consider for deciding upon the board of affiliation for one’s school. The priorities of parents, community in which the school is being planned, the medium of instruction, availability of qualified teachers for additional subjects of ICSE board etc.
We have therefore decided to offer some perspective. Before we come to opinions let us state some facts - Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is the leading national education board followed by Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), Popularly known as ICSE. CBSE is a state body whereas ICSE is a private educational body. Both of them conduct class X and XII school certificate or board examinations. The textbooks commissioned by CBSE are provided by the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT). ICSE does not have a fixed set of commissioned textbooks, however there is a comprehensive list of recommended readings.
It is important to understand that CBSE is what can be called an educational board for the masses, ICSE, on the other hand, can be considered a board rather elite in outlook. The CBSE reflects the national tilt towards Science and Mathematics. ICSE is more balanced between sciences, arts, and humanities. The CBSE’s theoretical orientation can be attributed to the limitations of government schools in providing state of the art teaching aids and laboratory equipment. Private schools running CBSE curriculum can provide better resources but generally speaking, CBSE orientation remains liberal and accommodating when it comes to the standards of science practicals. Arguably, CBSE prepares students for conventional careers like medicine, engineering, banking and government services and prepares them well. ICSE has stringent standards regarding teaching aids, the medium of instruction, practicals and language acquisition. ICSE has more to offer to students who want to excel in literature, management, journalism, arts etc. The ICSE students have also performed better in scholarship exams and competitions like Math and Science Olympiads.
There can be no contest that before deciding on the board of education the interests of the children must be considered by their parents besides affordability and location.
Both boards of education have their respective advantages and relative limitations. We have attempted to examine both —
As stated above, CBSE is the national education board and government schools and schools run by bodies like Defence, Railways etc. are affiliated to it. Examples include Navodaya Vidyalayas, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sainik Schools, and Army Public Schools. There is also a notable number of private CBSE schools in India. There are over 17000 schools in India affiliated to CBSE.
Now coming to Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (ICSE). It is also a nationally recognized education board and conducts certificate examinations in classes X and XII. There are over 2100 schools affiliated to the ICSE. ICSE syllabus substantially varies with that of CBSE. The ICSE syllabus is known to be more extensive.
Both education boards have had their share of excellent scholars although they provide fairly diverse scholastic experience. Both of these boards have seen to work well if the school running them have concentrated its efforts in adhering to the teaching standards and curricular demands without compromising.
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Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.
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