ICSE vs IGCSE: Difference and Comparison

Different nations have different education and examination systems for students under various boards. Education Boards are responsible for setting the rules, regulations, and teaching system for a specific academic session or institution.

Nowadays, national institutions are also inculcating internationally recognized examinations into their system, providing a broader range of academic perspectives.

Key Takeaways

  1. ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education) is an Indian school board that conducts exams for grades 9 and 10.
  2. IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) is a global curriculum and exam system offered by the University of Cambridge.
  3. While both systems emphasize a broad-based education and focus on skills like critical thinking and problem-solving, IGCSE is recognized in more countries and is considered more rigorous.


ICSE is a board incorporating national recognition and conducts national examinations extensively offered by the Council of Indian School Certificate Examination throughout the nation. Whereas IGCSE is an internationally renowned examination and system governed by the University of Cambridge International Examination, respectively.


ICSE is a nationally recognized system of examination that is short for the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education in India. It is a private board of India that is governed by the Council of the Indian School Certificate Examination in India.

It is an examination of the national level that does not entirely allow private students to take it. 

IGCSE is an internationally recognized examination and offers an English Language Curriculum for students by the board. It is short for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education and is governed by the University of Cambridge to conduct examinations.

This International Board of Education also provides space for private students to take examinations. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonICSEIGCSE
Full-FormIndian Certificate of Secondary Education.International General Certificate of Secondary Education.
SubjectsIt has a fixed curriculum.Students can choose based on their interests.
Level of examinationNational level.International level.
Governed byCouncil of the Indian School Certificate Examination. University of Cambridge International Examinations. 
Private studentsIt does not allow private students to take examinations. It allows private students to take examinations. 

What is ICSE?

ICSE is a national level of examination that offers an extensive quality of education governed by the Council of the Indian School Certificate Examination in India. It is a private board of examination in India that is renowned for providing a structured and balanced set of curriculum for the students to have an extensive idea of the subject. 

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ICSE focuses on providing systematic education for the student to understand the concepts on a deeper level with a full understanding of the topic. They also put great emphasis on the culminating of the English Language in the overall curriculum, which prepares the student for any English Level examination on their own.

ICSE tends to encourage their students for their active participation in various extracurricular activities, which helps in the overall development of the student in every aspect of the field and simultaneously focuses on providing a general course of education, conducting a balance between both sectors of knowledge.

This private board of education tends to evaluate the students based on the best five subjects in their respective courses, which determines their overall performance considering the English marks as a compulsory addition to the evaluation process. This board has proven to provide a high-quality education system throughout India. 


What is IGCSE?

IGCSE is an internationally renowned examination that is known for its top-notch education system and is short for International General Certificate of Secondary Education. It tends to focus extensively on the level of the English Language Curriculum in the education system to prepare the students for the A-Level examination under the International Curriculum. 

IGCSE is an international board level, which is also considered equivalent to other international curricula and GCSE levels. It is governed by the University of Cambridge International Examination.

IGCSE focuses on providing an even wider range of subjects to choose from and maintains the student’s overall growth.

IGCSE board also provides the liberty to the students to choose subjects as per their interests and take examinations on that which improves the quality of study among students as they don’t feel burdened with the vast curriculum. It also allows for a teaching system focusing on localized programs of education.

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It also allows other private students to take part in the examinations held by the board. They focus on creating a curriculum that would seek the importance of education and also interest the student in pursuing academics with keen willingness and determination for the development of the student. 


Main Differences Between ICSE and IGCSE

  1. ICSE is a board of examination that is on the national level, while IGCSE is a board of examination on an international level. 
  2. ICSE is an educational board that is governed by the Council of the Indian School Certificate Examination. In contrast, IGCSE is an educational board that is governed by the University of Cambridge International Examination.
  3. ICSE does not allow private students to take their examinations. On the other hand, IGCSE has an internationally claimed system and allows private students to take examinations. 
  4. The ICSE Board of Education has been working over since 1986 in India. But, IGCSE has started its full-fledged journey in 1988 internationally.
  5. In ICSE, the board has a set of systems and curriculum for teaching purposes from which the students are meant to choose from. In contrast, IGCSE provides liberty and allows students to choose their subjects according to their interests. 
  1. https://egrove.olemiss.edu/etd/966/
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-93843-1_17

Last Updated : 20 June, 2023

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  8. Both ICSE and IGCSE are different examinations that focus on providing their students with excellent education. ICSE is a nationally recognized system of examination in India, while IGCSE is an internationally recognized examination system. Both aim at providing a broad-based quality education for students, ultimately focusing on their overall growth and development.

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