Make the Best Choice for Your Child : a Handy Guide to School Boards.

In today’s interconnected global economy, the key to success lies in a well-rounded education — one that focuses on learning, culture, and life skills. It is imperative to prepare children to tackle any challenges they may face and choosing the right school will automatically give your child an edge.

A new academic year is a confusing time for parents — what with choosing a school for the first time or looking to shift to a different school altogether. In addition, India’s educational landscape — with its many curriculums — only makes this process more complex. To simplify it, we’ve put together this easy guide to compare CBSE, ICSE, IB, IGCSE and the State Board to help you make an informed decision.

How To Use This Information

Selecting the right board for your child is dependent on what career path you wish to give him or her. While certain boards focus on training students for competitive exams, others focus on a more holistic education.

CBSE schools are a good choice for those looking to ace competitive examinations. The syllabus is focused on subjects relevant to medicine and engineering, as well as developing a problem-solving approach to challenges.

The State Board is a popular choice for students who wish to study in a regional language, as the curriculum is set by each respective state’s government. It may also be a cheaper alternative for those from lower socio-economic strata. However, the quality of education is often compromised.

ICSE Schools are similar to CBSE with regard to the subjects that are focused on. However, ICSE tends to add more content to its subject matter, and addresses high-level concepts — especially in English. Although more challenging than CBSE, this is a good option for your child if a comprehensive education is your focus, rather than individual exams.

IB programmes tend to focus on ‘how to learn’ instead of ‘what to learn’ by adopting a practical and application-based approach to education. There are no prescribed textbooks, nor examinations till the Middle Years Programme (Class 10). More emphasis is placed on the quality of assignments, rather than the amount of work assigned — thus, the IB curriculum can be more challenging than boards like CBSE and ICSE.

IGCSE (Cambridge) is an internationally recognised curriculum that focuses on the application of concepts, experimentation, and all-round development. In addition to traditional subjects, international schools offer a plethora of extracurricular activities as well. Although similar to IB Programmes, schools offering IGCSE are more accessible — thus making them a better choice for those in India. It is also the best choice for students who wish to study abroad at a later date, or parents who wish for their children become global citizens.

Choosing the right school can be a challenge, especially if your child’s future is dependent on the decision. If you remain unconvinced even after you have shortlisted a few schools, you can always visit the schools you have in mind for a clearer picture. Remember that the school must suit the child as much as the child suits the school. Alternatively, you could approach a counselor or an expert to assist you. After all, this is the first — and most vital — step on your child’s path to greatness.