What You Need to Know About Changing From the CBSE to IB Curriculum

Jul 14,2024

Is your child currently enrolled in an Indian curriculum (Central Board of Secondary Education or CBSE) school? Are you exploring the possibility of transferring your child to a different school offering the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum? Have you ever wondered, "is the IB curriculum harder than CBSE?" 

If you answered yes to these questions, there are a number of things you need to consider before making the change. Here's what you should know to make an informed decision.

What Is the Difference Between CBSE and IB? 

To understand the IB vs CBSE debate, here’s a brief comparison between the two curriculums.

CBSE: A background

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is designed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in India and is based on the National Curriculum Framework. 

  • There are two stages:
  • Primary (Classes 1 to 5)
  • Secondary (Classes 6-12)
  • The main focus of CBSE is to provide students with a strong foundation for building skills in maths and science, along with a well-rounded education in social sciences, languages, and the arts.
  • Students are encouraged to learn textbook and classroom lessons by memorising information, which will be tested through exams. In recent years, teaching methodologies began using activities, projects and experiences.
  • CBSE assessment is done through curriculum-based final exams taken by students at the end of the academic year. In addition, students go through a system of continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) year-round to assess their performance in all kinds of activities.
  • There are three subject streams:
  • Science
  • Commerce
  • Humanities
  • The CBSE curriculum is recognised by the top universities in India. Students aiming to pursue higher education outside of India may check with the universities they are considering applying to if they are required to take additional exams or courses.

IB: A background

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a standardised international curriculum founded by The International Baccalaureate Organization, a non-profit educational organisation with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. It includes creating an IB Learner Profile for each student and developing a broad, international perspective when it comes to learning. 

  • IB is divided into four programmes:
  • Primary Years Programme (PYP) - Kindergarten to Grade 5
  • Middle Years Programme (MYP) - Grades 6 to 10
  • Diploma Programme (DP) - Grades 11 and 12 
  • Career-related Programme (CP)
  • There are six subject groups to choose from: 
  • Language & Literature
  • Language & Acquisition
  • Individual & Societies
  • Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Arts
  • There are also compulsory subjects:
  • Extended Essay
  • Theory of Knowledge
  • Creativity, Activity, Service
  • With IB, both internal and external assessments are used to evaluate the students' performance (internal refers to the students' projects, assignments and presentations, while external pertains to the exams they take before each programme ends).

Advantages of Studying in an IB Curriculum School 

Comprehensive skill development and application

With IB, emphasis is placed on inquiry-based learning that encourages students to think critically and explore different ideas. The curriculum trains children to understand and apply concepts instead of memorising facts and other information. 

Enhanced social, personal and character development, and international-mindedness

The IB curriculum considers extracurricular activities to be just as essential as academic learning for a child's development as an individual, as well as a member of society. It makes creative, fitness and social service activities mandatory through the CAS subject so students can gain a global and well-rounded perspective of the world.

Global recognition

Universities worldwide recognise the IB curriculum; it is highly respected for its standard of academic excellence. This means students in IB curriculum schools can choose to apply to universities in any country for higher education. 

Things to Consider Before Switching From CBSE to IB Curriculum Schools 

Here are three important factors to explore before choosing to transfer your child to an IB school from a CBSE school.

Grade level when making the switch 

Shifting a student from a CBSE school to an IB school is typically done at any time before Grade 10.

Entry requirements 

It is mandatory for students of all grades enrolled in the UAE to present a Transfer Certificate from their previous school when transferring to a different one. The certificate states the last grade the student successfully completed. 

For students moving to the emirates from other countries, schools require that they submit a Transfer Certificate that has been attested by the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UAE Embassy in their country of origin.

Different IB schools may have different requirements and processes for transferring from a CBSE school. Depending on the grade level during which your child will be making the switch, an IB school may require an applicant to meet specific academic criteria, submit application documents, and undergo an interview or exam.

It is necessary to directly contact the IB curriculum school you and your child are interested in to enquire about their specific procedures. It is also important to discuss the matter with your child's current school so that you can have all the information you need to help make the transition easier. 

Your child’s personal learning style 

Is IB harder than CBSE? Both education boards have their strengths. One notable highlight of the IB curriculum is that it fosters independent thinking and self-motivation. 

In an IB curriculum school, students are encouraged to practise the following:

  • Digging deeper into the topics they study
  • Enhancing writing skills
  • Reading for recreation
  • Analysing facts in a balanced manner before forming an opinion
  • Questioning lessons discussed in class
  • Considering different global perspectives of every lesson


Make the Best Decision for Your Child

Can you do IB after CBSE? Is the IB curriculum better than the CBSE board for your child? To answer these questions, you will need to compare the similarities and differences between the two. After that, observe your child’s individual learning style. Find out the best time to transfer (and see if this is a possible fit with your child’s present level). Have careful discussions with your child’s current CBSE school and IB school of interest in order to understand all the application requirements that must be fulfilled.

Contact our Admissions team today for more information and guidance on helping your child switch from a CBSE to an IB school.

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