Difference Between IB And ICSE Education Boards


If you are planning to send your child to a boarding school, there is a high chance that you will be overwhelmed by all the options and factors to consider before choosing a boarding school. In addition to school location, achievements, and boarding facilities, the education board is also a major factor in making a choice for good boarding school.

There are many educational boards available for your child’s secondary education. All with exciting possibilities and distinct educational approaches that could make a significant difference in your child’s academic success.

“IB and ICSE are two of the most popular options for parents looking for best boarding schools in India. 

As part of our series on the top education boards in India, we look at the differences between the IB and ICSE education boards, so that you can make the best decision for your child. This differentiation will include varying the boards’ curriculum, academic outcomes, and individual benefits to a child.

We hope that by the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of the differences between these two education boards and make the best decision for your child’s future.

Are you unsure whether your child should attend an IB or ICSE school? Here is everything you need to know about IB and ICSE!


Characteristics IB ICSE
Number of schools 205 2300
Focus and approach Most IB boarding schools aim to transform students through an advanced and challenging curriculum that encourages exploration, action, and reflection. The primary goal of ICSE is to provide students with high-quality education through a hands-on approach.
Criteria of assessment IB results are declared in grade format ICSE results are declared in both mark and grade formats.
Complexity Level IB has the most complex and advanced curriculum. Less complex than IB, but more complex than CBSE.
Number of subjects 6 (five-compulsory and one optional) 7 subjects from 3 groups. Four-compulsory subjects, and three optional.
Mandatory subjects First Language (English), Extended Essay, Action and Service, Theory of Knowledge, and Creativity are required subjects. English, Environmental Education, and SUPW i.e Socially Useful Productive Work.
Optional subjects Humanities (Geography and History)/Science (Biology, Chemistry, and Physics) and Mathematics are optional subjects (Number, Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, Statistics, Discrete Mathematics, and Arithmetic). An Indian Language/1 Modern Foreign Language/ 1 Classical Language/ Literature in English/ History/ Political Science/ Geography/ Sociology/ Psychology/ Economics/ etc.
Choose IB boarding schools Choose ICSE Boarding schools
Key considerations for choosing between IB and ICSE boards
  • If you are looking to give your child education with truly international curriculum
  • Planning to study outside of India after 12th
  • When money is no bar for you
  • Looking for excellent boarding school facilities
  • If you are looking for building language skills and good personality
  • If you want your child to have a deep understanding of topics
  • Looking for moderately high fees
  • Looking for good residential facilities
  • If you are planning higher education for your child at a foreign university
  • If you want your child to pursue literature, arts and management careers
  • IB And ICSE: Detailed comparison

    What is an IB board?

    IB (International Baccalaureate) is an internationally recognised diploma program that was founded in Switzerland in 1968. It offers a wide range of courses that cover many areas of education, from mathematics to the humanities. The programme is very complex, but it has been proven to be successful in preparing students for college or careers abroad.

    What is ICSE board? 

    ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education) is India’s national school board-approved diploma program. It was introduced in 1988 as an alternative to British schooling and has since become one of the most popular schools in India due to its strong academics and

    What are the curriculum differences between IB and ICSE?

    IB and ICSE educational boards are both registered educational boards in India. This means that they have been designed with the needs of Indian students in mind and have been proven to be effective. In this section, we’ll overview the two most popular schools in India and discuss the differences and similarities between the two curricula.

    IB curriculum and its academic advantages

  • The IB focuses on academic assessment rather than grading systems.
  • IB uses a blended learning approach, which combines traditional teaching methods with online resources and interactive exercises.
  • IB subjects tend to be more focused.
  • IB focusing more on critical thinking and analytical writing skills,
  • The IB board is focused on global education and also offers courses in the arts (including music), humanities (including languages), sciences (including mathematics), business and management studies, computer science, engineering (except architecture), health (except sport medicine and physiology), geography, Spanish, and religion/humanities.
  • IB requires students to take three exams at the HL level and three at the SL level to be considered for an IB diploma.
  • IB graduates pass an Advanced Level (A-Level) exam in English Language Arts (ELA), only around half of ICSE graduates achieve this same result.
  • ICSE curriculum and its academic advantages

  • ICSE is more about focusing on marks and grading systems.
  • ICSE, on the other hand, uses a traditional teaching method that involves lectures given by expert teachers in front of a class full of students.
  • ICSE subjects cover a broader range of topics. while ICSE emphasises creativity and literature appreciation.
  • ICSE offers courses in the arts, commerce, science, mathematics, social sciences, English language and literature, food technology, physical education/sports science, and music/dance/theatre arts.
  • CISCE (the Council of Indian School Certificate Examinations) conducts ICSE exams every year).

    What are the fees for IB and ICSE?

    IB board programmes and their fees

    The International Baccalaureate® (IB) provides a continuum of international education to students aged 3 to 19 through four challenging, high-quality educational programmes.

    IB Board has different programmes, and education starts with:

    PYP: The Primary Years Programme

    MYP: The Middle Years Programme

    DP: The Diploma Programme

    IBCP: IB Career-Related Programming

    For the academic year 2022-23, IB board school fees begin at INR 5,50,000 per year.


    Top boarding school with IB board affiliation

    The following are the best boarding schools in India that offer IB programs, out of 205 currently operating IB schools. (Schools affiliated with the International Baccalaureate Organization and offering the IB curriculum are known as IB World Schools.)

    1. Sharanya Narayani International School, Bengaluru

    Establishment Year : 2014
    Types of school:

    View school


    2. Sangam School of Excellence, Bhilwara

    Establishment Year : 2004 
    Types of school :

    View school


    3. The Doon School, Dehradun

    Establishment Year : 1935 
    Types of school :

    View school


    4. UWC Mahindra College, Pune

    Established : 1997
    Type of School : Co-Ed
    Affiliation : IB

    View school


    5. Sarala Birla Academy, Bengaluru,

    Establishment Year : 2004
    Types of school :
    Affiliation :

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    ICSE School Fees 2023

    Many national and international schools follow the ICSE curriculum, some may have similar fee structure. Students and their parents must note that the school fees for ICSE vary from school to school, depending on the facilities provided by the school. For fee details, you can check the list given below and compare their fees to find the best boarding school for your child.

    Top ICSE boarding schools in India

    1. Bishop Cotton School, Shimla

    Established : 1859
    Types School : Boys
    Affiliation : ICSE

    View school


    2. De Paul International Residential School, Karnataka 

    Established : 2003
    Type of School : Co-Ed,
    Affiliation : ICSE / IGCSE / NIOS

    View school


    3. St. Peter’s School, Panchgani

    Establishment Year : 1904
    Type of School :
    Grade Upto : Class KG to XII
    Board : ICSE

    View school


    4. Unison World School, Dehradun 

    Established : 2007
    Affiliation : CAMBRIDGE / CISCE / ICSE
    Type of School : Girls

    View school


    5. Shri Ram Centennial School, Dehradun

    Established: 2014
    School : Co-Ed
    Affiliation : ICSE, IGCSE

    View school


    To summarise,

    The overall academic outcomes of IB and ICSE students are almost identical. Both boards offer a wide range of courses that cover many areas of education, from mathematics to the humanities. This means that students who choose one board will likely have no difficulty transitioning into university studies later on.

    I hope this article has helped clarify all the major differences between the IB and ICSE educational boards, so that you will be in a better position to choose which is most suitable for your child.

    For more information, you can connect to our boarding school experts @boardingschoolsofindia

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