Local vs Foreign Boards Debate


Modern India is the picture of progress and more importantly, acceptance. In recent years, a new system of education has been accepted and applauded by students and parents alike. The Cambridge IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) and the IB (International Baccalaureate) diploma have become increasingly popular choices for secondary education across India.

Currently IGCSE is offered as a two-year course for students of the 9th and 10th grade. At the end of the 10th grade, an IGCSE examination is taken, which is much like the board examinations taken by students studying under national boards.
IB, on the other hand, offers high quality programmes for children from ages 3 to 19. It consists of two assessment bodies– Edexcel and CIE. A similar exam is taken at the end of two years in the IB board as well. There is a clear reason why the IGCSE and IB are two of the world’s most sought-after systems of education. They inspire students to become global thinkers and young adults who enjoy the process of learning and applying concepts to life. To have channelised the way a mind thinks is to have changed the way the mind perceives the world, and for a system of education to have the power to achieve this, it is truly incredible.
From English to Physics, every study session is incomplete without a class discussion. Freedom to share facts and opinions while learning to respect those of others and at the same time encouraged to make one’s own is a large part of this education system. Every topic is taught differently so that in preparation for the examinations students can refer to a wide range of presentations, handouts and videos.

State board affiliated schools are vastly different from those that follow the ICSE system of education. SSC is a public examination taken by students living in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Goa. For those who aren’t in the know, SSC is the equivalent to GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) in England.
As compared to the IB and IGCSE programmes, state boards have comparatively less subjects. The syllabus is said to be easier and hence,
less stressful. The SSC board for class 10 examinations in Maharashtra offers limited flexibility in the choice of subjects. Students must mandatorily study three languages, which include English, Hindi and a third language that is unique to each state’s board. Physics, chemistry and biology don’t find a separate place under the broad subject of science and technology. Mathematics is divided into geometry and algebra, while the social sciences include history and civics and geography. Since there is no choice of subjects, all students get a uniform amount of time designated for recreation, which is about an hour or two a week. Literature by Shakespeare doesn’t find a place in the SSC syllabus. But, there are a few of his dramas in the concise and simplified form. Under history, one studies about world history that includes the American War for Independence, the two World Wars and other such topics. There is a lot of rote learning.
ICSE is a national board whose centre is in Delhi. This board offers students a lot of flexibility. A student must opt for two languages, geography, history and civics. However, a student can chose only two out of ten other subjects including science, commerce, mathematics, environmental studies, French and others. The last group of thirteen subjects includes technical drawing, art, physical education, computer applications, commercial applications among many others. However, the choice of subjects also lies in the hands of the school as some schools do not give their students the liberty to drop subjects like mathematics or science as they feel that the basic knowledge of these subjects is essential.
As per the ICSE curriculum, English, being the first language is quite tedious. One has to study three books for literature, which includes a book for prose, one for poetry and a drama book by Shakespeare. The second language tends to be easier.

Although the depth and flexibility provided by all boards is more or less at par, it is the methodology that makes all the difference. IGCSE and IB programmes are more practical and application based. It thus helps children to develop in an all-round way. The exams under these programmes test a student’s knowledge and reasoning as well as problem solving abilities as against their memory and speed. In IB and IGCSE boards, there are many more projects. It’s more interactive and involves a lot of team-based learning and encourages students to think. Children feel like learning and their curiosity levels are aroused to the max. Children do not experience any form of unhealthy peer competition. The examination papers are set and marked by the Cambridge International Examination (CIE), thus ensuring the same quality standards will be experienced by a student studying for a similar programme anywhere in the world. Faculty members are also trained by them to impart similar quality standards in teaching. Because of all these factors, these boards are especially recommended for those students who have definite plans to study abroad after completing their school education. Do keep in mind that in India there are only around 5000 students studying in IB and other international boards and the hundreds and thousands of students opt for local boards. Naturally, these boards are cheaper and more accessible to most of the population. Make sure you understand the choice of subjects and study patterns of each of these boards before you make a final choice.


  • École Mondiale World School
  • Singapore International School
  • The French International School (EFIB)
  • Woodstock School
  • Good Shepherd International School
  • Canadian International School
  • Dhirubhai International School
  • International School of Hyderabad
  • Hebron School
  • American School Of Mumbai



Volume 2 Issue 1



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