International Baccalaureate (IB) program is offered in more than 3,000 schools across 141 countries. Some high-end expensive new-age schools in Metros and Tier I cities of India are offering them with a vision of holistic development of a student. It employs innovative curriculum and stress-free fun teaching methods. The focus here is on the all-round development of a student rather than his or her academic performance. Irrespective of how interesting it may all sound, international education in India is restricted to high-end expensive schools which are out of reach for most of us.

So, engineering aspirants in India often take admission in CBSE, ICSE or state board schools.

State Boards

Ultimate School Board Guide for Engineering Aspirants in UAE and India!

State boards are directed by State governments and carry local flavour. They are often taught in local languages and considered easier than CBSE or ICSE. As per the new government directive, state boards have adopted the NCERT syllabus for Class 11 and 12 for Maths and Science subjects.
State board schools are usually cheaper than CBSE or ICSE schools.
Some state boards conduct Class 8 exams too. While state boards of India are recognised, they are only relevant within the state.

For students who choose English as their medium of instruction and frequently move here and there, CBSE or ICSE boards are the popular choices. Here is a complete analysis of which school board should you choose if you are preparing for IIT JEE and/or living in gulf countries:


Ultimate School Board Guide for Engineering Aspirants in UAE and India!

CBSE was started by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and its syllabus is highly controlled, predictable and well-structured. Almost all the national-level engineering entrance exams are based on the CBSE syllabus for Class 11 and Class 12.

More popular than ICSE, More than 9,000 schools in India and abroad (in about 21 countries) are affiliated to CBSE. CBSE Videsh is quite popular in NRI students residing in Middle East, South Africa and some European countries. It is a boon for Indian students who move in and out of India frequently. Due to its prevalence, it is easy to find CBSE schools, CBSE books, and CBSE tutors when you relocate.

While CBSE and ICSE are both recognised well by universities and colleges in India, calibration of marks is done in some colleges to make comparison of marks in two different boards possible. Often, this calibration favours the board from where most number of applicants arrive – which means that it mostly favours CBSE students.

CBSE is believed to be more focused towards Science and Maths which suits engineering aspirants quite well. Moreover, it emphasizes on application of concepts which is the key to crack IIT JEE.CBSE syllabus is constantly worked upon to keep it relevant.


Ultimate School Board Guide for Engineering Aspirants in UAE and India!

Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) is a private body that conducts ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education) exams at Class 10 level and ISC (Indian School Certificate) and CVE (Certificate of Vocational Education) exams at Class 12 level. A reminiscent of the British regime, ICSE course content is based on the University of Cambridge’s examination system. More balanced than CBSE, ICSE syllabi focuses on Arts, Science and Language in equal measure – which might not be such a desirable feature for IIT aspirants.

ICSE registers a lead over CBSE in terms of number of academic courses as well as vocational courses it offers to students at Class 12 level. This makes ICSE more flexible in its approach than CBSE. However, since IIT JEE aspirants and other engineering exam aspirants have to compulsorily study Maths, Physics and Chemistry, they are not usually able to exploit this feature of ICSE to their advantage.

For students in UAE or Dubai, ICSE is not as popular as CBSE.

Both CBSE and ICSE have been trying to incorporate new teaching methodologies for their students. Experiential learning and experimentation is taking centre stage in school education these days. Active learning is encouraged through creative learning games, real-life mathematical activities and projects. However, the quality of teaching varies from school to school, irrespective of their affiliation.

Clearly, CBSE students have an edge over ICSE students or students of state boards when it comes to engineering entrance exams such as IIT JEE or BITS Pilani. Moreover, a horde of talent search exams and scholarship tests such as NTSE, SSTCE, NSEC, and NSEB base their content on CBSE syllabus – openingup more and more opportunities for CBSE students. 

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