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CBSE, ICSE, SSC? What works well in India and doesn’t?

Keep factors such as your budget, value system and your child’s aptitude and interests before choosing a board.

Not too long ago, parents at a reputed school in the heart of Mumbai, staged a protest when the school management decided to switch from state board (SSC) to Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) for grades 1st to 5th and changed the name of the school by calling it an ‘international school’. School fees have also been hiked without parental consent. The Consultant appointed by the School Management cited the reason of ‘focusing on all round development of the children’. This school is the alma mater of renowned cricket players like Sachin Tendulkar and Ajit Agarkar. But that didn’t stop the parents from complaining about the fee hike.

So, what are the different types of boards that exist in India and why are they viewed favourably in one context and viewed negatively in another situation? Let’s try and understand a little more about each of the boards and what are the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing the same:

1.SSC (State Board):    Each state has its own educational board and the curriculum is set by the state body. State language is compulsory if you choose to study in a school that follows the state board. 
The advantages of opting for this board are lower fees, thereby making it affordable for people coming from different socio-economic backgrounds, including the marginalized communities; less stressful, since the syllabus is relatively easier and the structure of the curriculum also allows you to focus on extracurricular activities like sports.

The disadvantages of selecting the SSC board include it not being favourable for parents with transferable jobs; whereas some schools in small towns and rural areas might also lack in basic amenities, apart from the fact that the curriculum entirely depends on state government policies.

2.ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education- also known as CISCE board):  This board was started by Anglo-Indian Community and has many Convent Schools affiliated to this Board. It has a presence not only in India, but also in UAE, Singapore and Indonesia.
The advantages of pursuing this board are wide curriculum as compared to the state board and more focus on language and literature, be it English or Hindi. There is also greater emphasis on practical knowledge and analytical skills.
The disadvantage of selecting this board is higher fees and a disadvantage when it comes to seeking admission in state universities due to fewer seats.

3.CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education):  The curriculum is set by NCERT that is National Council of Education Research and Training. All Kendriya Vidyalaya, Navodaya Vidyalaya as well as many private schools in the country are affiliated to this Board. This curriculum also has a presence in 25 countries including India, Malaysia and Dubai, Japan to name a few.

Major entrance examinations such as IIT-JEE and NEET are based on the CBSE curriculum.
The advantage of focusing on this curriculum is that there is a greater level of emphasis on Maths and Science and the syllabus is standardized across India. It is also favourable for parents with transferable jobs plus finding related books and tutors is easy.

The disadvantage of focusing on this curriculum is that the syllabus is vast and that the fees are high in some schools.

Fundamentals of all subjects are taught across all the boards. So, before deciding on which curriculum is suitable for your child, please make sure it suits your budget, your value system and your child’s aptitude and interests.



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How to choose the right curriculum and board that suits your requirements

It is important to select the right board that suits a child's requirements and aptitude. This will help the child to prosper and have a fulfilling career in the long run.
Kshitija SawantTeentalkindia Counsellor

Rahul, a 16- year old teenager had recently appeared for his 10th grade exams and was cooling his heels during the summer break by doing what he loves the most: playing sports. Football is his favourite, but at times, he enjoyed playing lawn tennis and going for a swim too!

Close to two months later and it’s time to move to the next phase: RESULTS! Urgh! Rahul was wondering what his mark sheet would look like, since he knew he hadn’t done too well in his exams. The score card unfortunately, reflected just that: Rahul had just managed to pass in all the subjects. “At least, I didn’t fail in any!” he said to himself. His parents, however, were not too thrilled with Rahul’s performance. With the kind of marks that he had scored, Rahul’s father started worrying about his future. After all, he had planned to send his son to study abroad to complete his undergraduate degree. The family then decided to seek some career guidance in order to get a reality check:

Career Guidance Session

Rahul’s father talked about how he successfully ran his garment business and was hoping that his son would one day take over the same. He wanted his son to become an entrepreneur. He invested a large sum of money for Rahul’s education and made sure he studied in one of the finest international schools in the city. While Rahul utilized all the sports related facilities on campus, he did not necessarily feel the same way about academics. The syllabus seemed too overwhelming, but at the same time, he did not want to hurt his father’s feelings and so chose to keep quiet about the whole thing.

Through a one-on-one discussion with Rahul, the Career Counsellor got to know about Rahul’s dreams and aspirations. He actually wanted to pursue sports as a career and did not aspire to study or live abroad. Keeping the realities of society in mind, he figured studying accounts/commerce (at the state board level) would equip him with the required knowledge and skills and at the same time, allow him to pursue sports. The level of difficulty was low and so it was quite manageable for Rahul. The other option was to pursue sports management at the undergraduate level and then take things ahead from there. Rahul did not wish to take over his father’s garment business, even though he considers the lessons learnt from handling his father’s business as valuable.

The conclusion arrived after the session was that Rahul would switch over to state board for grades 11th and 12th and go on to pursue his Bachelor’s degree in Commerce or Sports Management, before deciding what to do next.

LESSONS LEARNT:  While being aware of what’s in and what’s not certainly helps, it is infact, even more important to choose a board/curriculum that does justice to the teen’s value system and potential, instead of trying to do something to fit in ‘the cool and happening’ circle of family and friends.


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If you have a query,Click Here.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.


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