SSC, CBSE or ICSE: The Quintessential Study Pattern for Students in India

Publish On: 12 Jun, 2019 10:00 AM | Updated   |   SJ Desk  
SSC, CBSE or ICSE: The Quintessential Study Pattern for Students in India

ome the season of school admissions, and the debate for which board to select, whether CBSE, SSC or ICSE, takes up the center stage. 

Particularly in India, it is more about the boards than the actual educational institution (School) that the parents are more perplexed about. No wonder it has become a daunting process with so many good schools promoting one or the other form of educational boards. 

So, just to relieve you a bit from this stressful scenario of boards selection, we have come up with a list detailing all the three boards, CBSE, ICSE and SSC, and what they are all about, including a few of their pros and cons, so as to make your task a little simplified and help you make an informed decision about your child’s future.

Hence without any further ado, let’s begin!

The SSC board


The SSC board stands for Secondary School Certification and is essentially a part of the State Boards, with the administrative authorities belonging to the Education Ministry of the State Government. 

The SSC board differs for all of the States in India and the syllabus, exams patterns, educational system, and the structure vary with respect to the administrative authorities of that particular State Government.


  • If you belong to one particular State, and wish to continue your education, i.e. higher secondary school in the same State, then the SSC board is perfect for you. This is particularly beneficial to SSC Board students considering they are well acclimatized with the educational process and overall system of the board.
  • Also, the syllabus is not pretty stringent when it comes to the SSC boards. They are quite lenient as regards to curriculum, which leaves the student with plenty of time for extracurricular activities and play time. 


  • Kids from the SSC boards are not well adept or confident when it comes to appearing for certain competitive entrance exams such as GRE, GMAT, CAT, etc. owing to the fact that they lack the overall base of immaculate communication in the English language, with no stress on having perfect vocabulary throughout their learning process.
  • Obviously, this doesn’t mean, that Students from SSC board altogether cannot get through the entrance exams, they surely do, but with a lot of preparation. Whereas the CBSE board students have an edge over them in terms of vocabulary and overall command over the English language.
  • Some schools still promote the rote system of learning, wherein the students are made to mug up lessons in order to gain good grades in the main board exams.
  • But even though they might appear to have been bestowed upon with distinction grades, this practice has a certain negative impact on their way of gaining knowledge and restricts their mentality and truncates their ability to learn something new in their life, which also hampers their future career growth.

The CBSE board

The CBSE board stands for Central Board of Secondary Education and falls under the administrative gamut of the National Board of India. 

The curriculum of the CBSE board is always alleged to be slightly tougher than the SSC board. But ultimately it all rests upon the shoulders of the children who have the capability to take up certain challenges at an early stage in life. 

On the contrary, the syllabus of the CBSE is also said to be more student-friendly along with more emphasis on the holistic development of the students preparing them for a brighter future.

This curriculum of the CBSE boards is set by the National Centre of Educational Training and Research, also referred to as the NCERT.


  • With an approach towards a more theoretical and healthy learning process, the syllabus of this board is constructed in a very conducive way so that the students find it more interesting and interactive without having to face any sort of pressure or stress in their learning process. Rather, it would be more fun for them.
  • Mugging up is an absolute no-no in the CBSE boards. Students are not encouraged to do so with the help of a more interesting and efficient learning process followed by the schools who have adopted this pattern of the educational system.
  • Entrance examinations for IIT-JEE, AIIMS, are all set by the CBSE board itself, thus providing its students an edge over the other students from several other boards available. Hence students are more prepared for such and many other entrance exams, thereby having the preparatory skills imbibed throughout their schooling into the CBSE board.
  • Students are also encouraged to participate in many extracurricular activities, which are an active part of the board syllabus itself.
  • Another important benefit of the CBSE board is the flexibility that it provides to its students when it comes to making their subject choice or even a career choice for their future.
  • CBSE approves and recommends both English and Hindi language instructions in school.


  • The Syllabus is considered to be slightly harder than the SSC boards, but slightly easier than the ICSE board and leaves very little time for kids to play as compared to the SSC board students.
  • Also, the CBSE board is suitable for those who wish to continue their studies with the centralized colleges or institutions as the syllabus would change drastically with the adoption of the State based institutions.
  • Emphasis is more on theory such as Science and Mathematics and knowledge application since their main focus is competitive exams.

The ICSE Board

The ICSE stands for Indian Certificate of Secondary School and falls under the administration of the Council of Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), which is a non-affiliated private school board in India. Being a non-government educational board, people of India are more wary of selecting it sometimes, and hence we can find many schools following the CBSE pattern.


  • The ICSE board balances perfectly when it comes to focusing on English Literature (more than CBSE as well), Arts and Science subjects. Thus if you want your English language skills to be perfect and want to pursue a suitable career in the same, this Board is certainly for you. But again it doesn’t mean it is suitable only for English Literature students. ICSE majorly lays emphasis on lab practices as well.
  • Learning majorly through experimentation, practical implementation, and analysis, including equal efforts, form the teachers as well, is the mantra of the ICSE board. ICSE board stresses more on learning in detail, be it any subject then.
  • ICSE board also offers many diverse subjects apart from the regular academic ones such as environmental sciences, home sciences, cookery, fashion designing, Interior designing, etc., which you won't find in any other boards.
  • Students, who wish to pursue more managerial roles, should really take up this Board since the methodology of teaching is completely designed to educate you in a similar fashion.
  • The ICSE board (or the CISCE), Is globally recognized as compared to any other boards and has much appeal to it.


  • The syllabus is tougher than the other two boards, but then it totally depends on what the children are aiming for their future.
  • More volume of the syllabus as compared to the other boards.
  • It is not much popular in India since it is a non-government board as compared to the CBSE board. (Yet the number of schools adopting the ICSE board are increasing with passing time.)

Ultimately it is up to the parents and the ability of their children to make the right choice for their future. 

Also, there is a huge divided community of parents and students when it comes to choosing one board over the other considering their demerits and merits. 

With so many options and good schools around, the task of choosing a perfect board for your kid has become all the more confounding.

But taking the above-mentioned points into consideration, the process would certainly be a tad bit easier as compared to having no knowledge about the boards at all.

So good luck with your board selection process!