About the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education

The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) is an examination conducted by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination, a private board of secondary education in India.The Council for the Indian Certificate Examination was set up as an alternative to the overseas Cambridge School Certificate Examination. The Council is committed to serving the nation’s children, through high quality educational endeavors, empowering them to contribute towards a humane, just and pluralistic society, promoting introspective living, by creating exciting learning opportunities, with a commitment to excellence.


The Council believes in ensuring the following:

  • Trust and fair play.
  • Minimum monitoring.
  • Allowing schools to evolve own niche.
  • Catering to the needs of the children.
  • Giving freedom to experiment with new ideas and practices.
  • Diversity and plurality – the basic strength for evolution of ideas.
  • Schools to motivate pupils towards the cultivation of:
    • Excellence – The Indian and Global experience.
    • Values – Spiritual and cultural – to be the bed rock of the educational experience.
  • Schools to have an ‘Indian Ethos’, strong roots in the national psyche and be sensitive to national aspirations.


The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations conducts three examinations, namely, the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE –Class X); The Indian School Certificate (ISC – ClassXII) and the Certificate in Vocational Education (CVE – Year 12). The subject choices and syllabuses prescribed for these examinations are varied and aimed at nurturing the unique gifts of individual pupils


The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education has been designed to provide an examination in a course of general education, in accordance with the recommendations of the New Education Policy 2020, through the medium of English. Private candidates are not permitted to appear for this examination.


The Indian School Certificate Examination is an examination, through the medium of English, designed in accordance with the recommendations of the New Education Policy 2020, after a two-year course of studies beyond the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (Year 10) examination or its equivalent examination.

  • THE C.V.E (YEAR 12)

The Certificate of Vocational Education Examination (CVE – 12) has been created as an examination, in accordance with the recommendations of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) through the Joint Council of Vocational Education (JCVE) established under the National Policy of Education 2020. This examination can be taken by candidates after a two year course of studies beyond the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (Year 10) examination or its equivalent examination, through the medium of English.

The C.V.E. course is intended to prepare candidates for specific vocations. Private candidates are not permitted to appear for these examinations.


The Council conducts, the Frank Anthony Memorial All-India Inter-School Debate and the Albert Barrow Memorial All-India Inter-School Creative Writing competitions, thereby underpinning the critical importance of creativity and the ability to articulate one’s thoughts in writing and speech in school education.



Instituted by: Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations. Among the young people of conviction who were prepared to make any sacrifice, Henry L.V. Derozio (1809 – 1830), arguably the first Indian poet, freedom fighter and social reformer, was fondly referred to as the “National Bard of Modern India.” He taught English at Hindu College (later Presidency College), Calcutta, and set up a youth movement to promote nationalism and enlightened living. Through his writing he fired the imagination of a generation of ‘Derozians’ for the cause of ‘freedom’. ‘The Harp of India’, ‘To India my Native Land’ and ‘Fakir of Jungheera’ are among his best known writings.

The ‘Derozio Awards’ have been instituted to celebrate and commemorate the life of this great revolutionary, so that his life may inspire a new generation of people to emulate his life and work, in the service of the nation.


The Council carries out training on a gamut of educational concerns, geared towards improving or affirming teaching practices in the classroom, new syllabi thrusts or managerial skills in education. Requests for training may be made to the Council’s office.


UCAS noting on the ISC Examination:

The National Admissions and Accreditation agency in the United Kingdom – UCAS (Universities and College Admission Services) has recognized the ISC at par with the Higher School qualification of the University of Scotland.

The following subjects are presently being offered to schools:

  • For classes 1 to 5
    • English
    • 2nd language: Hindi, Kannada, Sanskrit, French, Spanish
    • 3rd language: Sanskrit, Hindi
    • Mathematics
    • Science
    • Environmental Studies
    • Social Studies
    • Computer Studies
    • Arts Education


    For classes 6 to 8

    • English
    • 2nd language: Hindi, Kannada, Sanskrit, French, Spanish
    • 3rd language: Sanskrit, Hindi
    • Mathematics
    • Science
    • History and Civics
    • Geography
    • Computer Studies
    • Arts Education


    For classes 9 and 10

    Group 1 (Compulsory Subjects)

    • English
    • 2nd language: Kannada/Hindi/Sanskrit/ OR
    • French/Spanish
    • History, Civics & Geography

    Group 2 (Any 2/3 subjects)

    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology)

    For classes XI, XII

    Students are allowed to choose any five out of the following with the sixth one, English being compulsory. Subjects are offered in an array of combinations, based on the stream of education, and school picked.

    Socially Useful Productive Work


  • Council for the School Certificate Examinations has advised the schools to promote Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation at the junior and middle level. Compulsory provision of internal assessment ensures due weightage is given to Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation, even at the secondary level.
  • CISCE has introduced flexibility in choice of subjects at the secondary level. This helps to integrate learning with abilities and talents and consequently reduce stress.
  • Children who are extremely weak in Mathematics/Science are given the choice of opting for other subjects so as to reduce stress of failure at examinations in children. In addition to the compulsory subjects, in order to provide for varying abilities of students, the Council makes available a basket of offering of subjects from which the students can select subjects of their choice in keeping with their aptitude and ability. The Council has also introduced skill-based subjects at the ICSE examination with a view to make the curriculum more holistic and comprehensive.
  • The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations provides marks as well as grades on a nine-point scale, and has been doing so for the past several years, for both the ICSE (Class X) and ISC (Class XII) examinations.
  • Students are allowed 15 minutes extra time before the commencement of the examinations for reading the paper. During this period, candidates get an opportunity to assimilate the paper and plan how they would answer the questions.
  • Internal Assessment: The Council has introduced 20% course work (i.e. Internal Assessment) since 1995 in all Group I and Group II subjects at the Class X level. This enables students to build up competencies and self-learning skills and provides a component of stress free learning through Internal Assessment.
  • The Council has introduced choice of Application based subjects as a Group III subject with 50% internal assessment component for the Class X examination. This further reduces stress in the handling of Group III subjects.


  • Realising the fact that many of the students in Council Affiliated Schools have Special Learning Disorders, CISCE has in place several provisions to facilitate learning and taking of examinations at both the ICSE and ISC levels. In cases of candidates suffering from Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), certain concessions/support are admissible, depending upon the nature and degree of the disability, on a case to case basis. Such concessions include:

    • Exemption from the requirement of the study of the second language in cases that warrant such an exemption because of severe nature of the learning disability of the candidates(s), certified by a competent authority approved by the State/ Central Government;
    • Allowance of additional time: The maximum additional time allowance applicable is at the rate of 15 minutes in a 1-hour paper, 30 minutes in a 2-hour paper and 45 minutes in a 3-hour paper;
    • Allowance of use of Calculator for Mathematical calculations only (Casio fx-82MS – Scientific Calculator): Calculators of other makes with similar functions are also permitted.
    • Use of an/a Amanuensis/ Reader/ Reader-cum-writer: When a candidate’s performance is affected to such an extent that any reasonable allowance of extra time would not meet the difficulty, the use of an amanuensis normally would be a fellow pupil, who has not reached the same academic standard in the subject as the candidates. Similar arrangement may be permitted in practical examinations. The question paper may be read out, but not explained in any way to the candidates(s).


  • The Government of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development implemented National Awards for teachers for “Using ICT for Innovations in Education”. The Award proposes to felicitate those teachers who have enhanced student learning by effectively and innovatively integrating technology supported learning into the school curriculum and subject teaching, and thereby promoted inquiry-based cooperative-collaboration learning using ICT among their students. The Department for Education,
  • Our Modern Transition: Use of Technology and Modernisation of Processes and User Practices The Council had embarked upon a journey of modernization that would see many changes in tools and Technology employed to transact day to day business – fax machines and email helped to shrink communication time and postage costs. Terms like Website, Webpage, Screenshot, tile, cloud, uptime, downtime, servers, portal,barcodes, barcode readers, 2D stickers and reader guns, OMR, BMS Machine (Bundle Management System Machine), Payment gateways, Laptops and Dongles, Data Plans, SIN, Office 365 became common parlance not only at the Council but to all stakeholders of the Council’s Schools, Principals, Teachers and Students. Crash programmes, tutorial matter and videos fast tracked all concerned into an enabling and empowering learning environment to carry out day to day tasks as well as complex processes associated with Registration, Examination, Affiliation and Result – processing – declaration – accession. Thus technology put power into the hands of many. This modernization of the Council is co-evolutionary and multi-dimensional and inter-twined with societal needs, wants and uses. This new technology co-exists with the old before the final complete transition takes place and the Council and its affiliated schools use the web and newer technologies to conduct business in the virtual word. In the final analysis the modernisation programme of the Council has resulted in:
    • Reduction of manual processes
    • Reduced paper work
    • Time saved (Time saved is money saved!)
    • Instant access to digital information and records.
    • Online payment
    • More time being spent ‘on the net’ than poring over registers and files.
    • Greater transparency and security with audit trails of electronic footprints.
    • Greater empowerment to and responsibility by all concerned. The Council has logged in to a new technology and a new future heralding new user practices, a new thinking and a cohesive empowerment for not only the Council but for all its affiliated schools – together as they embark on a brand new mission of educating India by Schooling Minds.