CBSE vs IB, Are you making the right choice - Hindustan Times

CBSE or IB? Confused about which board to study in? Read here for the analysis

By, New Delhi
Sep 29, 2023 02:15 PM IST

With plenty of options available in the market, making the right choice that fits in the basket is imperative

Choosing the right school to impart knowledge and help in the all-round development of the kids is certainly a herculean task for parents. With plenty of options available in the market, making the right choice that fits in the basket is imperative.

Informed decisions after prioritizing individual goals need to be taken before choosing either of the boards(HT file)
Informed decisions after prioritizing individual goals need to be taken before choosing either of the boards(HT file)

Parents especially are confused when it comes to enrolling kids in schools that can shape their future into better individuals. One such confusion is about the kind of curriculum to begin with. Ample options are available in the educational sector, but choosing the one that suits your goals and ambitions is crucial.

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Based on the latest hands-on experience in learning techniques and teaching methodologies, parents are often stuck picking between a CBSE curriculum and an International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum for their wards.

Certainly, everyone's priorities and ideas of what they would like to experience from their early education days differ. Hence, we have listed a comparison between an IB board and a CBSE board here.

CBSE Board:

Founded in 1929, the Central Board of Secondary Education is a national-level board of education that is controlled and managed by the Government of India. It is an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Education. CBSE curriculum is followed in both public and private schools. It is headquartered in New Delhi. CBSE curriculum is divided into 2 stages:

(i) Primary stage

(ii) Secondary stage

(iii) Higher Secondary Stage

IB Board:

International Baccalaureate (IB) is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and was founded in 1968. It is a non-profit organization governed by a Board of Governors representing cultural and geographical diversity. IB curriculum is divided into 4 programs:

(i) Primary Years Program for children aged 3-12

(ii) Middle Years Program for students aged 11-16

(iii) Diploma Program for students aged 16-19

(iv) Career- Related Program for students aged 16-19

The following are the parameters considered to compare a CBSE board and an IB board:


CBSE schools are spread across the country both as public schools and private affiliated schools. CBSE has also set up approximately 240 schools in 26 countries. There are 210 IB World schools in India, with larger concentrations in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai.

Medium of Instruction:

English is used as the medium of instruction in most of the CBSE board schools. Hindi is also used in some affiliated schools. NEP 2020 promotes the usage of regional languages as a part of imparting multilingual education. Ministry of Education has directed officials to publish textbooks in 22 languages.

IB board school offers teaching and assessment in English, Spanish and French.


CBSE board uses the Comprehensive Course Evaluation method which evaluates a student's development on a continuous basis based on various parameters like academics, art, music and other cultural activities. Exams at the end of an academic year are also conducted by the board.

IB uses both external and internal assessments to evaluate a student. External assessment involves examinations and internal assessments for most of the courses involve teacher assignments like oral work in languages, fieldwork in geography, laboratory work in the sciences, investigations in mathematics and artistic performances.

“ The approach towards teaching and learning in the IB and CBSE is learner-centric, yet apart due to the difference in the assessment design. While the IB relies on the centrality of its ontological and epistemic approach to inquiry, the CBSE draws on constructivist models building upon strong subject expertise. While the IB curriculum offers a space to build a nuanced understanding of dynamic and relevant issues that learners engage with through coursework, the CBSE facilitates a structured and guided curriculum with broad content coverage across subjects,” says Shashi Banerjee, Director of Education, Shiv Nadar School.


IB curriculum is quite heavier on the pockets when compared to CBSE schools considering its global outreach.

“ IB programs are known for their rigorous curriculum, international perspective, and commitment to holistic education. The fees often cover many resources, including experienced faculty, international standards, and unique learning opportunities. However, it is essential to balance maintaining quality education and ensuring accessibility. Schools and the IB board should continuously explore avenues to reduce costs without compromising educational standards. Collaborative efforts involving schools, parents, and policymakers can lead to innovative solutions that make high-quality IB education more affordable and inclusive for a broader range of students, ultimately benefiting society,” says Alka Kapur, Principal, Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh.

Teaching Methodology:

CBSE follows the says ‘Teach the child not the subject as facts will be soon outdated’. The curriculum aims to dissuade rote learning by the passive acquisition of facts and rather focuses on constructive, experiential, cooperative and collaborative learning involving the active participation of children.

IB curriculum works within global contexts, helping students understand different languages and cultures, exploring significant content, and developing disciplinary and interdisciplinary understanding that meets rigorous international standards.

“CBSE excels in providing a robust foundation in subjects such as science and mathematics. In contrast, IB adopts an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach to learning, promoting a holistic understanding of various subjects,” says Alka Kapur.


IB curriculum is designed in a way that students have an easy transition while making headway among global citizens. While the CBSE curriculum is plotted around a higher education and government employability scenario in India. CBSE curriculum is much preferred for those who wish to aim for government jobs in India as it is prescribed by the Ministry of Education.

"CBSE excels in providing a robust foundation in subjects such as science and mathematics. In contrast, IB adopts an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach to learning, promoting a holistic understanding of various subjects.

“ CBSE board caters to the Indian students. The curriculum is such that students can relate to it. Also, various national-level exams are in sync with this curriculum for the purpose of uniformity. Traditionally IB had an edge over CBSE in terms of admissions to foreign universities but now all foreign universities accept CBSE scores,” says Mrs. Bhakuni, Principal at GD Goenka Public School, Vasant Kunj.

With the continuous advancement in science and technology, it is imperative that educators use them for ease in teaching and learning. NEP 2020 promises to bring a refreshing start to the present education system involving the CBSE board which would benefit the educational fraternity as a whole. Choosing the kind of curriculum to be in is based on the personal goals and aspirations of the student and both the board caters to them individually. Informed decisions after prioritising individual goals need to be taken before choosing either of the boards.

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