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CBSE vs State Boards vs International Boards

Anirudh Sharma 18

Education system in India is highly competitive. Government of India is providing free and compulsory education to all children of age 6-14. In spite of this there is lack of quality education system of India.

Parents in India wants best from their ward and that creates immense pressure. For this, they admitted their ward in best possible private school that provide them quality education with all grooming education structures but this is not accessed by everyone.


Almost all schools in India focus on subjects’ education without focusing on overall development of child in all fields of study, art, sports, society etc. This lack of creative educational development gives attention on only subject examination.

NCERT (The National Council of Educational Research and Training) is an autonomous organization established by Government of India to support and guide to central and state government in all academic matters related to school education.
National BoardBoards of education in India are classified into three categories:

  • State Board
  • International Board



CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education)

CBSE is the board of education for schools (public & private) under central government. It gives affiliations to schools. It was constituted in 1962 under purview of Govt. of India. At present it has 18546 schools in India and 210 schools in 25 foreign countries. There are 1117 KV’s, 2685 Government/Aided schools, 589 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya’s and 14 Central Tibetan schools. It affiliates institutions for the purpose of examination and academic standards of the country. It also conducts various entrance examinations like AIEEE and AIPMT for engineering and medical institutions. All universities and colleges in India recognized CBSE education board for admission.

Council of Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE)

CISCE is a private education board in India that conducts ICSE and ISC examinations for X and XII classes across India. It was established in 1958 with aim to provide best quality education at secondary and senior secondary level. There are about 1900 schools affiliated to CISCE in India with reaching out to all regions of country. ICSE and ISC examination are conducted in accordance with the New Education Policy, 1986.The council committed to provide high quality education empowering society. In 1973, Under Delhi School Education Act 1973, the council was listed as a body for conducting “public” examinations.


State education boards in India govern under regulations of State Act for school level education. It provides all affiliations for schools and implements education policy. It conducts board examination with specially designed curriculum and syllabus that will helpful for students in higher education in State and Central educational institution. There is high percentage of schools affiliated to state education boards. The first state board is UP board of High School & Intermediate Education (1922). Today, almost all states in India has their education board.


International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO)     

International Baccalaureate Organization was established in 1968 as a private, internationally recognized educational organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. There are mainly three programs offered by IBO in India as primary years program (PYP), middle years program (MYP) and IB Diploma program (IBDP). In India, 109 IB World schools offering above three programmes.  Number of PYP schools are 50, number of MYP schools are 11 and number of IBDP schools are 96. IB programmes are also recognized across India as qualification for higher education and considered equivalent to 10+2 by AIU(Association of Indian Universitites)

Cambridge International Examinations (CIE)

Cambridge International Examinations provides international qualifications offering examinations and qualifications all over the world. They are conducting board examination under Cambridge Assessment. It was established in 1858 as one of the department of the University of Cambridge. At present, there are over 310 Cambridge schools in India. CIE makes 44,000 examination entries for Cambridge IGCSE and Cambridge International AS and A Level, from all over the nation.


Comparative Study of National, State and International Education Boards in India



National BoardInternational Board 

State Board



Classes & Ages

1–8 (ages 6–14)1–8 (ages 6–14)PYP (ages 3–12)

Primary Years Programme

Primary (ages 5–11)1–8 (ages 6–14)
9, 10 (ages 14–16)9, 10 (ages 14–16)MYP (ages 11–16)

Middle Years Programme

Secondary I (ages 11–14)9, 10 (ages 14–16)
11, 12 (ages 16–18)11, 12 (ages 16–18)IBDP (ages 16–19)

Diploma Programme

Secondary II – IGCSE, O level (ages 14–16)11, 12 (ages 16–18)
Advanced – A/ AS levels, Pre-U (ages 16–19)



No prescribed syllabus from board, but recommends syllabus laid down by NCERTNo prescribed syllabus from board, but recommends the Inter State Board for Anglo Indian EducationCurriculum prescribed by IBOCurriculum prescribed by CIECurriculum as prescribed by State Education Departments
Syllabus as prescribed by the CBSESyllabus as prescribed by the CISCE.Curriculum prescribed by IBOCurriculum prescribed by CIESyllabus as prescribed by the State Education Board
Syllabus as prescribed by the CBSESyllabus as prescribed by the CISCE.Curriculum prescribed by IBOCurriculum prescribed by CIESyllabus as prescribed by the CBSE
Curriculum prescribed by CIE



Internal assessment conducted by the teachers (no formal periodic tests, no awarding of grades or marks for primary levels; no detention till class 8)Internal assessment with annual examinations conducted at the school levelInternal assessment with a continuous evaluation and conducted by the teachers based on certain pre-decided criterion (by the IB)E Cambridge Primary Progression Tests (marked in school) Cambridge Primary Checkpoint (marked by Cambridge examiners)Internal assessment conducted by the teachers (no formal periodic tests, no awarding of grades or marks for primary levels; no detention till class 8)
Class 9 – Internal assessment in accordance with the guidelines of the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system. Class 10 (having higher secondary levels) – Internal assessment; students are provided a Certificate of School Based Assessment. Class 10 (secondary schools, or for students who wish to move out of the CBSE system) – External assessment (AISSE examination)Class 9 – Internal assessment with annual examinations conducted at the school level Class 10 – Internal and external assessments (ICSE examination)Internal assessment with a continuous evaluation and conducted by the teachers based on certain pre-decided criterion (by the IB)Cambridge Secondary 1 Progression Tests (marked in school) Cambridge Secondary 1 Checkpoint (marked by Cambridge examiners)Class 9 – Internal assessment with annual examinations conducted at the school level Class 10 – Internal and external assessments (State Board  examination)
Class 11 – Internal assessment conducted by the teachers

Class 12 – External assessment in the form of AISSCE examination

Class 11 – Internal assessment with annual examinations conducted at the school level Class 12 – Internal and external assessments (ISC examination)External assessment in the form of examinations conducted at the end of the diploma program. These are marked by external examiners. Marks are awarded from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest) for each subject. A minimum of 24 points is required for the student to receive the diploma certificateAssessments include written, oral, coursework and practical assessment. Grading provided using eight internationally recognised grades, A* to G (six grades for O level), with clear guidelines to explain standard of achievement for eachClass 11 – Internal assessment conducted by the teachers

Class 12 – External assessment in the form of State Board examination

AS Level only (syllabus content is half that of A Level) ‘Staged’ assessment route All papers of A Level course in the same examination session, usually at the end of the course
Key Subjects TaughtLanguages, Env. Studies (Science and Social Science integrated), MathematicsEnglish, Env.Edu, Maths, Science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology)Language; Mathematics; Science; Social Studies; Arts; Personal, Social and Physical EducationMathematics, English and ScienceLanguages, Env. Studies (Science and Social Science integrated), Mathematics
Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, English and 1 other language as compulsory and 1 out of Information Edu., Home Science and Physical Edu. as optionalComp subjects: English, 2nd language, History, Civics, Geography, Env.Edu. + 3 electives to be chosen from a list of coursesLanguages (2), Humanities, Sciences, Mathematics, Arts, Physical Education, TechnologyMathematics, English and ScienceMathematics, Social Studies, Science, English and 1 other language as compulsory and 1 out of Information Edu., Home Science and Physical Edu. as optional
Various combinations of subjects as per interestComp subjects: English and Env.Edu. + 3, 4 or 5 electives to be chosen from the list of courses1 subject from each of the following groups— Languages, Individuals and Societies, Experimental Sciences, Arts, Mathematics and Computer ScienceOver 70 subjects offered (40 subjects for O level) divided into five groupsVarious combinations of subjects as per interest
About 55 subjects offered (for A/ AS); 26 subjects offered for Pre-U


Some other factors to be considered:

National BoardState BoardInternational Board
Extra Curricular Activities


A wide spectrum of extra-curricular activities and events complements learning programme. These activities imbibe the qualities like team spirit, tolerance, flexibility and appreciating others on their achievements, which in turn enriches and builds character. Like, Public Speaking & Dramatics, Art Studio, Music and Dance, Yoga, Sports, Tours & ExcursionsThis varies from school to school. Some give more importance to these programmes and there are some focuses on academics. State boards mostly plan for government events, SUPW Camp, tours, rally.The Extra Curricular and sports facilities available are varied and numerous, so there should be something to suit everyone.

Nearly all of the activities include sports, drama, art and music are open to both sexes and many run all the year round. In addition excursions and trekking expeditions are organized.

Child’s Mental DevelopmentCBSE emphasis on Life skills development include psychosocial competencies and interpersonal skills that help people make informed decisions, solve problems, think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, build healthy relationships, empathize with others, and cope with managing their lives in a healthy and productive mannerThere are no such developmental practices adopted only provisions of basic computer education. More or less, these development processes simultaneously with school events only.IBO provides on-going professional development training, so that students are well informed. Workshops, online learning, teacher coaching and conferences provide potential avenues to address developmental needs.
PedagogyE-CBSE is a part of the ongoing Digital India; it said adding this is an endeavor to enrich the student and the teacher communities by providing various learning and teaching resources to supplement and compliment curriculum transactions.There is not much aid available in state board schools. They only use books and lab. Equipments to compliment curriculum.IB documents, teacher support materials and teacher resource exchanges are available from the Online Curriculum Centre, and a range of additional publication for students and teachers can be purchased through the IB store. This enables schools to fully comply in overseas
Selection of TeachersWith the aim to recruit quality teachers, CBSE introduced the Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) State Governments introduced the Teacher Eligibility Tests (TET) as per MHRD Guidelines after minimum eligibility requirement. With perspective to private sector, the quality of teachers in India has gone down considerably and only Elite schools that charge heavy fees may have a chance of having better teachersState Governments also introduced the Teacher Eligibility Tests (TET) as per MHRD guidelines after minimum eligibility requirement. In State board also private schools are having less chance of good teachers.Since most International Board schools charge a hefty fee, you can expect the teachers to be well qualified and trained for their job.
Digital ClassroomCentral Board of Secondary Education has issued guidelines to set up virtual classrooms from primary to secondary level compulsorily.In state only few elite schools had the privilege of setting up of digital classrooms but government soon implement it compulsory.Schools are packaged with a robust  classroom infrastructure includes a giant Interactive White Board and a projector or an All-in-one HD Touch-screen LCD, a super-fast desktop or a laptop, one assessment device per child, Hi-Fi speakers and a personalized learning device – Classpad (optional).
Students Performance in various CompetitionCBSE curriculum ensures students best preparation for competitive examinations. CBSE’s new assessment pattern is more in tune with modern demands. It is a broad based assessmentState boards have become contemporary. For future perspective mostly parents choose national board over state board.Jcgk IBO uses student performance on its examinations to monitor and improve the overall quality of IB programs in different countries and schools. But students enrich with best skills that help in any competitive examination.
School FeesCISCE and CBSE’s affi liation by-laws state that fees charged by schools affi liated to these Boards should be commensurate with the facilities provided by the schools.


Average Annual Fee: Rs 65000-Rs. 125000)

As per Assocham

Schools under state boards have to follow regulations of their respective state governments.


Average School Fee: According to laws of state government. Lower in comparison to other boards

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a not-for-profit organization, which covers its main operational costs by charging fees to schools – in order to provide services supporting those schools and to implement our education programmes.


Average Annual Fee: Rs. 3-5 Lacs


Graphical Comparison of National, State and International Board on various parameters.

School follows norms & standards as per regulation.


Extra Curricular activities in schools


Pedagogy to be follow in various schools


Quality of Teachers


Child’s Mental Development


Student’s Performance in Competitive Examinations


Curriculum & Syllabus based on modern age education.


Difficulty aspects of Curriculum & Syllabus


Availability of Tuition teachers for syllabus.


Summary for suggesting selection of best school education board.

Indian educational institutions are not among the front ranking institutions in the world, though Indians students have done brilliantly outside India and have top positions in many organizations. Every school promises an education system, which provides an all-round holistic education. With number of education boards in the country has increased in the past decade, it is very difficult to choose school education board where kids get the best education possible.

Firstly, if parents’ considering the curriculum and syllabus or having transferable job within India then National board syllabus is comparatively more rational and scientific in its approach. With focus on application based approach students compete in all competitive examination. Books and tutors are easy to find. With CCE (Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation), students can involve themselves in extra curricular activities. Students participated in various talent search examination and scholarships based on this syllabus.

Secondly, if parents’ residing in remote region or villages and small towns considering school fees and wants lower fee school, then state board schools are providing comparative syllabus with minimum fees. But in state board, you should keep in mind that there are not many extra curricular activities. That does not mean state board students are lacking in any ground. But we have to grooming them differently.

Thirdly, if parents’ are expats or belonging to NRI communities or having transferable job overseas or wants child to compete internationally then choose International Board for more practical and application-based.  It provides students an opportunity to select courses according to their interest in the subjects of science, humanities, languages, mathematics. The courses also provide them an opportunity to mix these subjects with components of fine arts, visual arts, theatre, technical drawing, music, film making, community service, etc. Emphasis is laid on developing critical thinking, analytical skills, communication skills, investigative abilities, problem solving techniques, team work, independent research and other qualities valued by all international universities.

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