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Comparison Between Different Educational Boards in India

By Manasvi GuptaOctober 27, 2022
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Different Education Boards in India

Which is the best board in India for education? - CBSE, NIOS, or State Boards? Or Which Board should we choose for our children? Many parents think about these questions and get into a dilemma when choosing from different education boards in India to ensure the best education for their child.

India has a unique education system with several national, international, and state education boards. Also, Indian education boards are initiating amendments to cater to the different requirements of the children. Therefore, educational choices nowadays aren’t only about choosing the best school or stream but rather determining from the different education boards.

Understanding Education Boards in India

Also Read: CBSE Vs ICSE - Find the Difference and Know the Best Board

There are mainly three national boards in India- the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), and the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). Apart from these, India also has several state and private education boards. Not only this but different international boards have also been incorporated into the Indian education system, such as Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) and the International Baccalaureate (IB).

The following guide will help you get all the information you need to know about choosing from the several education boards in the country. Take a look:

List of Education Boards in India

Here is the list of different types of boards in India:

State Boards

Every state in India has a state education department that organises board exams for the classes 10th and 12th with its separate syllabus and grading system: The Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher School Certificate (HSC). Currently, there are 32 different state education boards in India.

State boards are recommended for those students who are settled in a particular state for a couple of years as well as for those who are preparing for the state-level engineering and medical entrance tests, as the syllabus covers the topics of regional relevance to their local area. Also, the syllabus is quite limited compared to other boards, making it a preferred choice among students. Students can participate in sports or extracurricular activities as well as can learn a lot about their local culture. 

Objective - The object is to facilitate a regional-based program and syllabus to help students teach state language as well as prepare for the state-level engineering or medical entrance tests.

Curriculum - Some state boards follow the prescribed textbooks and curriculum determined by the government to prepare students for the national exams. While certain state boards prescribe NCERT books.

Exam Pattern - The State Board conducts two examinations: Secondary School Certificate (SSC) for class 10 students and Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC) for class 12 students.


  • The easy admission process to the board.

  • Accessible and easy textbooks compared to other education boards.

  • Students who wish to score well in 12th and prepare for competitive exams like IIT JEE or NEET can benefit from this board.


  • The syllabus is not comprehensive enough.

  • Might lack the necessary facilities.

  • Teaching quality can vary.

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)

The CBSE is a national education board of India for public and private schools, administered by the Union Government of India. It is among the most popular education boards in India, with over 24,000 schools in India and approximately 240 schools in 26 foreign countries affiliated with CBSE. 

Around 1138 Kendriya Vidyalayas, 595 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, 3011 Government Schools and 16741 Independent schools, and 14 Central Tibetan Schools are affiliated with the CBSE. The board offers various subjects after Class 10th in Science, Commerce, Arts/Humanities streams. 

Objective - To enable students to polish their physical, intellectual, and social skills by advancing teaching, knowledge and application.

Curriculum - CBSE boards follow the NCERT curriculum to help students prepare for all the entrance exams in India. Some of the major subjects offered by the board in 10+2 include Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology, Accountancy, Business Studies, Economics, English, History, Political Science, Psychology, Geography, and English.

Exam Pattern -The All India Secondary School Examination (AISSE) for Class 10 and the All India Senior School Certificate Examination (AISSCE) for Class 12.


  • The admission rate is higher.

  • Recognition by all colleges in India, making it a top education board in India.

  • Freedom to choose subjects of choice from several subjects.

  • Due to its extensive presence, parents with transferable jobs or students pursuing schooling in distance mode can easily apply.

  • Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) from classes 6 to 10 to test students throughout the year.

  • Application-based activities.


  • CBSE syllabus is more focused on students preparing for engineering or other medical entrance exams. 

  • Higher school fees.

  • The syllabus includes theoretical concepts to follow the rote learning.

Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE)

The CISCE is a privately-held national-level education board in India that conducts the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and the Indian School Certificate (ISC) examinations for Class 10th and Class 12th, respectively. It was established in 1958 and recognised as a “Non-Governmental Board of School Education” by the Constitution of India. Currently, more than 2300 schools in India and abroad are affiliated with the CISCE. The board primarily focuses on Math and Science with equal attention to Languages, Arts and Humanities.

Objective - High-quality education through practical learning. The CISCE curriculum focuses on application-based knowledge and analytical thinking. 

Curriculum - Science, Humanities, and Commerce streams are offered to senior school students. They are also offered a range of subjects to choose. For literature in English or other languages, the board prescribes textbooks but not for other subjects. CISCE is known for its detailed, comprehensive, and complex syllabus that covers a range of topics, in addition to 23 Indian languages and 12 foreign languages, making it the toughest board in India.

Exam Pattern - It conducts three examinations – ICSE for Class 10th, ISC for Class 12th, and the Certificate of Vocational Education Examination (CVE) for students who have completed ISC exams and are interested in specific vocations.


  • The course is broad enough to ensure overall growth development in students.

  • Adopts application-based learning.

  • The subject selection option is available to the students. 

  • Equal focus on science, art, and languages.


  • Students may find the syllabus cumbersome.

  • More emphasis on the English language. 

  • Higher fee structure.

  • Students from a non-affiliated school are not permitted to take the exam.

National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS)

The NIOS is a national education board administered under the Union Government of India and was established by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in 1989. The board offers vocational and community-oriented courses at the secondary and senior secondary levels. With around 3,50,000 enrolled students every year, it is one of the largest open schooling systems. 

Objective - To facilitate versatile education to all segments of society to improve literacy and flexible education.

Curriculum - The board follows NCERT and NIOS books in its curriculum. The Open Basic Education (OBE) from classes 3 to 8 covers basic Math, Environmental Science, and computer skills. Class 10th students can choose from 2 basic groups with at least 5 subjects and a language. Class 12th students can choose from Commerce, Science, and Humanities.

Exam Pattern - NIOS conducts secondary and post-secondary exams.


  • The maximum time a student must complete their exams is five years.

  • Beneficial for flexible education.

  • Students can learn anytime remotely.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

Established in 1968, the IB is a non-profit, international education board in India, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, as well as recognised by UNESCO. It has over 5500 schools across 159 countries. 

Objective -To create global citizens by developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills with international mindedness throughout the program.

Curriculum - The curriculum is focused on experiment-based learning by not fixing any reading lists or textbooks. The IB board offers the following educational programs:

  • Primary Years Programme for students aged 3-12 years.

  • Middle Year Programme for students aged 11-16 years.

  • Diploma Programme for students aged 16-19 years.

  • Career-Related Programme for students aged 16-19 years.

Exam Pattern -The IB Diploma Programme (DP) and Career-related Programme (CP) are conducted in two sessions in November and May every year.


  • The curriculum is based on theories including language and knowledge acquisition, language, literature, individuals and societies, creativity and service, and Arts and Mathematics.

  • Students can pick one subject from each of the six distinct subject groups


  • Higher fees.

  • Difficult to shift boards. 

  • Textbooks aren’t easily accessible.

Cambridge International Examinations (CIE)

The CIE board conducts the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and AS & A Level exams and is a part of the University of Cambridge. It is an international education board in India with over 10,000 schools affiliated with Cambridge International across 160 countries. Students with CIE credentials are accepted at universities in the UK, USA, Canada, the Middle East, and West Asia.

Objective - To build a solid foundation of knowledge through lifelong learning.

Curriculum - It doesn’t have any prescribed textbooks. It comprises primary, lower secondary, and upper secondary to advanced levels. It is one of the most flexible education boards in India, with more than 70 subjects alternatives at the IGCSE level and over 55 subjects AS & A level. The board strongly focuses on the English language, making it favourable for admission to foreign universities.

Exam Pattern - The main examinations are the IGCSE, the AS level, and the A-level exams.


Thus, choosing the right board depends on various factors. First, you should be aware of their pros and cons, and also pay equal attention to their future scope. Choose a board that best fits your child’s capabilities. So, which board is Better: ICSE or IGCSE? As parents, we are concerned about getting our kids a quality education. So, make an informed decision by keeping these criteria in mind and ensure that children face no trouble in the later years of school.

FAQs on Comparison Between Different Educational Boards in India

1. How many national-level educational bodies are there in India?

CBSE, CISCE, and NIOS are the three primary national-level educational boards.

2. Which board is best for education in India?

CBSE is considered one of the best school boards in India. However, it depends on the type of education you’re comfortable with.

3. Which board is best for the future in India?

Based on its pros and cons, you can pick any board and get a good education. However, ICSE and CBSE are among the best education boards in India.