Which School board is right for my child?
The purpose of analysing various boards is not an attempt to bring out the supremacy of one board and degrade the other. Each board has its pros and cons. The majority of parents are only aware of CBSE and State Boards and they do not know the intricacies and detailed curriculum followed by each of them making it difficult to choose the right one for their child.
CBSE board syllabus is quite extensive and dwells on a wide array of topics and does not dwell in-depth into concepts. The board lays primary focus on student assessment, evaluation practices and training students in job-oriented skills.
Post Indian Independence, the Cambridge School Certificate Examination was replaced with ICSE Board (CISCE). Unlike CBSE, the syllabus of ICSE is vast and comprehensive. It focuses more on the overall development of the child and imparts practical knowledge of the subjects in contrast to the theoretical in CBSE. The internal assessment, projects, and activities performed by the student are weighed more than the final examinations.
Though the curriculum designed by CBSE is more application based and the one by ICSE is more practically oriented, students do not have the liberty of independent thinking. Ideas posted in the recommended textbooks are thrust upon them and individualistic thinking is not encouraged.
International General Certificate of Secondary Education, is a globally recognised qualification. IGCSE is a balanced curriculum offering a similar choice of subjects like CBSE and ICSE but with a flexible course of study. The subjects offer a choice between a core and an extensive curriculum. Methods of assessment are not limited to conventionally written papers but to a variety of tests including oral and listening tests. Students are encouraged to play an active role in the classroom, to think critically and independently and collaborate with their peers in projects.
Cambridge International Examination is the oldest and world’s largest International Exam Board with a presence in 160 countries. CIE had structured their teaching methods to align them with the requirements at a global level. The Cambridge curriculum has a more structured framework as compared to IB programs. Studying under the Cambridge curriculum gives you an opportunity to explore global issues of your interest, to acquire the presentation skills highly regarded by the Universities and the freedom to question and think independently.
International Baccalaureate is not associated with any particular country or board. It’s a non-profit based in Geneva. IB is more practical and application based. It has a much broader spectrum of subjects for an all-round development of the child. The curriculum is more challenging and is designed for the sole purpose of producing global citizens.
CIE, IGCSE and IB boards train students to become an all-round independent thinker. Exploring their interests and subjects is encouraged by theses boards. Paying attention to the individual needs and calibre of each student is favoured by these boards.
As such the parents are concerned about the grades scored by their child, rather than stressing on his/her ability to learn and grasp the concepts of the subjects. This is further enforced by the curriculum followed in CBSE, ICSE and State Boards. As a result, the syllabus becomes a bit cumbersome and stressful to cope with for the students.
State boards are specific for each state and follow separate syllabus and grading system. Most states are planning to follow the syllabus similar to that of CBSE to ensure the students can study and appear for All India Entrance Examinations.
National Institute of Open Schooling caters the educational needs of children who cannot attend regular school, like sportspersons who focus more on their practice and travel throughout the academic year. NIOS also provides opportunities to children with special needs.
NIOS has an unjustified image of being an option for weak students. However, the truth is different. It’s an option for those who can’t attend regular schools due to their personal circumstances or serious health issues. The examination is conducted at two levels, secondary (X) and senior secondary (XII).