How to Select the Right Board for Your Child

Admission season is on, and all parents are trying to figure out what is the best option for their child. Being a teacher and an educator, I have come up with a board-wise list of pointers to keep in mind while deciding the right board for your child. 

SSC board: Secondary School Certificate is the local State board, which is a state level examination conducted after standard 10th. HSC is conducted after 12th, which is equivalent to high school, after which you can start college. Its applicability is in Maharashtra and some other Indian states. However, it is heading towards redundancy due to wider applicability of CBSE board.   Course level is fairly average. English is a weaker point in this board, while focus is there on Hindi and Marathi. Average fee is around 30000 - 60000 per year depending on the school. 

CBSE board: The Central Board of Secondary Education (abbreviated as CBSE) is a Board of Education for public and private schools, under the Union government, and hence is applicable all over India. It conducts 10th and 12th standard exams.   Course-wise CBSE has more focus on maths and science and is the preferred board if you child is looking for fields like medical or engineering, or is planning to appear for competitive exams like IAS, JEE, etc. Hindi and Marathi are at advanced level, while English is basic. If you are someone who has to frequently travel for work within India or if your child would continue further studies in India, this is the preferred board for you. Average fee is between 50000-120000 per year. Varies with school. 

ICSE board: The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education is an examination conducted by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination. It is a private, non-governmental board of school education in India for class 10th. It is a newer board than CBSE but still has a fairly wide applicability. Course-wise is has a balanced approach. Focus is more on English literature and language. ICSE students tend to have better reading habits than other students. Portion is lengthy, but scoring system is better. If you are looking for a balanced all-round development of your child, with career options like management or banking, this is the preferred board for your child. Average fees are around 70000-150000.

IB Board: The International Baccalaureate board is an internationally-recognised school system made up of three educational programmes:

  1. PYP: The Primary Years Programme (Kindergarten to Class 5).
  2. MYP: The Middle Years Programme (Class 6 to Class 10).
  3. DP: The Diploma Programme (Class 11 to Class 12).

The IBO is an international organisation, not associated with any particular country and has world over applicability.  The IB programme is more practical and application-based. It has a broader spectrum of subjects that lead to all-round development. IB exams test students' knowledge, not their memory and speed. There are no examinations till the Middle Years Programme (Class 10). The focus is on how to learn rather than what to learn. They have no prescribed text books, but students need to use reference books.

IGCSE board: The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is a globally recognised qualification, taken at the Class 10 level, similar to the Class 10 CBSE and ICSE or the middle years Programme of the IB. IGCSE is a comprehensive two-year programme, spread over Class 9 and 10, and leads to the final examinations offered every year in May and November. IGCSE assessment is conducted by two UK assessment bodies: Edexcel (London Examinations) and Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) hence has great credibility and acceptability.  A student who has passed IGCSE is eligible for any +2 level qualification, like Class 12 CBSE/ ICSE or any international pre-university programme.

Like IB, IGCSE offers a wider range of subjects and encourages high academic standards through a practical approach to teaching and learning. Assessment is not limited to conventional written papers and they consist of a variety of tests e.g. oral and listening tests. Most subjects offer a choice between core curriculum and extended curriculum. This gives students of all ability levels the freedom to choose subjects that are right for them. IB and IGCSE boards are preferred for those who are looking for higher education abroad and also for parents who have to shift base internationally frequently due to work. These are the most expensive boards and the annual fees can range anywhere between 250000-800000 per year.

Hope this is helpful in selection of the apt board for your child. All the best!