Most of today’s parents who were born and grew up in India have studied under CBSE, ICSE or their respective state board. However, in recent years, two new options have been gaining popularity, International Baccalaureate (IB) and Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE). Here is a quick guide to help returning NRIs in deciding the best syllabus for their children.
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Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)
Controlled and managed by the Indian Government, CBSE is India’s most popular board, with more than 19,000 affiliated schools in the country. The syllabus is mostly aimed at preparing students for entrance exams for medical and engineering colleges, as well as various other undergraduate entrance exams in India, which are conducted in accordance with the CBSE syllabus and based on NCERT books that the board strongly recommends.
Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE)
CISCE is a private and non-governmental school education board in India. The syllabus is vaster and more comprehensive than that of the CBSE and focuses on providing practical knowledge and building analytical skills for all-round development of the students.
International Baccalaureate (IB)
International Baccalaureate is a non-profit international educational organization, founded in 1968 and headquartered in Switzerland. Offering prime quality educational programmes, IB affiliated schools are considered distinguished. However, they can also be very expensive. They follow an international curriculum that is focussed on language, humanities, arts and analytical skills and has few prescribed textbooks, allowing students the freedom to explore the world.
Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE)
An increasing number of schools across India are getting affiliated to CAIE, which is a part of the University of Cambridge. CAIE offers examinations and qualifications to around 10,000 schools in more than 160 countries. Among the most flexible boards in the country, it offers a choice of more than 70 subjects at the IGCSE level and more than 55 subjects at the AS & A levels. Schools are free to shape their curriculum according to their educational approach. CAIE puts heavy emphasis on the English language and encourages students to explore their creativity through writing.
State boards are, as the name suggests, state-specific, with each state board following separate syllabus and grading criteria. State boards also differ amongst themselves in their educational approach. The syllabus is generally limited compared to the other boards, with regional culture and languages being given a prominent place.