A Comprehensive Look into IB and its Equivalence To CBSE


Choosing the correct curriculum for yourself or your child is a vital part of education – it determines not only their careers, but also their personalities and the kind of people they grow up to be. It is only natural to be concerned and curious about all the educational structures and organizations that stand today and promise a brighter future of a child. While CBSE and ICSE are one of the most well-known educational boards for primary and secondary education by almost the entire nation, there is a third, not so popular but equally rewarding, for a child. This is known as IB, or the International Baccalaureate board of education.

As the name suggests, it is an international foundation for education whose headquarters are based in Geneva, Switzerland and provides a standardized model to enable students to be inquisitive, knowledgeable and caring citizens all across the globe. This allows a student not only to stand on a national level, but an international standard of education.

The IB Curriculum

The most enticing part about the IB curriculum is that it combines 3 core qualities of education:

  1. Creativity, Action, and Service
  2. Theoretical Knowledge
  3. Extended Essays

It achieves so by blending in the traditional subjects of math, science, social studies and linguistics with its vocational alternatives such as music, computer sciences, business administration, among many others. Nobody gets missed out! An all-inclusive list of their core subject segmentation includes:

  1. Mathematics
  2. Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Biology)
  3. Individuals and Societies (Businesses, Economics, Psychology)
  4. Language and Literature (English A1)
  5. Language Acquisition (Foreign Languages)
  6. The Arts (Theatre)

This versatility allows a lot of flexibility in choosing subjects to ensure that the individualistic capabilities and interests among students do not die down during a vital period of growth, and to provide with an atmosphere of freedom and high productivity.


IB offers a great deal of benefits to its students: from being recognized worldwide to its balanced programme, it prepares its students to take challenges, be a jack of all trades, and be inquisitive and creative while also inculcating a sense of critical thinking in decision-making and solving problems.

  1. IB is largely knowledge oriented and focusses on the development of the student practically. Students get free access to a wide range of resources to extend their knowledge from class and maximize their understanding.
  2. IB has a very balanced and detailed curriculum structure as discussed above, which ensures an all-round development of the child and that no one is crippled under the burden of subjects they dislike or are not good at.
  3. Since it is an internationally recognized board, it becomes a gateway to some of the most prestigious universities of the world. Its education structure is such that it also prepares students to be able to take up a wide variety of application process methods with ease. Some universities also allow IB students earn college credits while finishing school and skip the basic courses when not needed to directly enroll into their final years.


There is always another side to the coin. IB also has its own set of cons, most specifically pertaining to the Republic of India and its ways.

  1. One of the biggest problems to be faced in a third-world country like India is that it’s expensive. With large economic disparities, only a few privileged sections of the society can enjoy this high-end education and reap its benefits. The underprivileged section evidently overpowers in number, thereby reducing IB’s popularity across the country.
  2. A direct by-product of the above is the lack of the availability of schools affiliated to IB. These schools are very resource intensive and limited to some parts of the country. However, a growth in their numbers is being seen expanding reach to those who wish to study in IB.
  3. Indian Universities follow a very difference entrance examination structure which is generally not directly catered to by IB. IB follows a common curriculum globally and focusses on the most widespread methods of application. The course load and study methodology of IB is simply not the best suited to Indian universities.


A Brief Into CBSE

CBSE, or Central Board of Secondary Education, is one of the most preferred boards for preliminary education across India. This preference arises on the basis of CBSE catering to the niche of Indian universities and preparing students particularly for that curriculum. It is also responsible for conducting some of the most major exams for admissions into India’s top universities.

Advantages: 1. CBSE is widespread and follows a common curriculum across the nation. This allows easy movement of students and their families within the nation without losing out on their education.

  1. Since CBSE particularly caters to the Indian segment, it allows teaching in both English and Hindi (two of the most common languages of the country) which thereby avoids language barriers in education.
  2. Since CBSE is responsible for conducting major entrance exams, the students of CBSE have a direct edge as their curriculums are structured in such a way so as to cater to these exams.

Disadvantages: 1. CBSE is great for figures and quantitative success, but it’s not the best when it comes to a child’s development (which is essentially what education is for) as it promotes rote learning and memorization.

  1. This focus on memorization brings about textbook based answering patterns, limiting a student’s knowledge to their prescribed curriculum instead of researching and expanding.
  2. No concept of research can further be very troubling. The practicality is needed to solve real life problems and these students can often feel stuck and be poor decision-makers in their future.


Direct Comparison Between IB and CBSE

  • While IB puts an equal focus on Humanities, Commerce, Science and Languages, CBSE puts more emphasis on knowledge, particularly Maths and Sciences.
  • CBSE continues have a much wider reach within the nation with about 16,000 affiliated schools whereas IB only has 141 schools.
  • A great benefit for IB students is that its assessment is based on understanding, skill-development, knowledge and its application when CBSE largely focusses on the student’s ability to memorize and recall concepts.
  • CBSE also has a relatively easy academic structure, often referred to as level one, which allows students to score high with lesser in-depth concepts. IB is a tough and demanding level three curriculum where students are evaluated at multiple steps and methods.
  • CBSE is the most preferred board for students aiming to clear JEE and NEET exams in India whereas IB wins the game when it comes to applying to International Universities.



Although CBSE has been facing issues meeting international standards, the Indian Education system is constantly trying to review, revise and edit the curriculum to outgrow these challenges and emerge victorious. IB stands victorious and proud in what it does, but ultimately is not the solution to all. What board to choose upon will rely on factors like: Where are you located? Can you afford it? What suits your child’s behaviour best? Ultimately, good education is a game of self-awareness in the child as well as their parents’ level of awareness (until the child makes decisions for himself/herself). The younger days are a good time to experiment with boards, while after having entered their late teens, students will have to settle on one and develop focus and goals. It is completely acceptable for students to change their boards in their later years if they feel a certain education board and its quality better meets their standards and ambitions. A student can also personally shape themselves accordingly and not rely entirely on their schools and curriculums to meet these set goals.

Above all, education can happen anywhere but first it starts at home and the self.