Comparison of Cambridge/Pearson Edexcel with Indian Boards

In India, with the advent of more and more schools that provide international curricula, Indian parents are faced with the prospect of choosing between Indian boards (such as CBSE, ICSE, state boards) and international curriculums like Cambridge Assessments International Education (CAIE), Pearson Edexcel (PE) etc. Armed with proper information, parents can make the choice of curriculum that is best for their wards. We have briefly summarized below the main distinctions between Indian boards and CAIE/PE.

Curriculum Structure

Indian Boards: Between CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) and ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education), CBSE is the most popular board in India. CBSE uses the NCERT curriculum that has been set by the Government of India. While the range of subjects covered is wide, there is an undoubted bias towards further studies in the fields of engineering and medicine

CAIE: Developed by the University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), CAIE offers an internationally recognized curriculum with a global perspective. It covers a broad range of subjects, allowing students to tailor their studies according to their interests. The focus is more towards creativity and helping the student acquire the tools and learning skills to continue his or her education in any field.

Teaching Methodology

Indian Boards: Indian boards often follow a more traditional teaching approach, focusing on rote learning and examinations. Classroom instruction plays a crucial role in the learning process. Students are expected to acquire and retain the knowledge and information that is given to them in classes and through study material.

CAIE/PE: CAIE/PE both emphasize a more interactive and inquiry-based learning approach. It encourages creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and practical application of knowledge. 

Flexibility and Choice of Subjects

Indian Boards: While Indian boards offer a range of subjects, the flexibility to choose subjects is limited. They offer a set combination of subjects called “streams” – Science, Commerce and Arts. A student can opt for only those subjects included in the stream chosen. He/she cannot choose subjects across the streams. For example, a student who opts for the science stream cannot choose subjects from commerce stream.

CAIE/PE: CAIE/PE provide greater flexibility in choosing subjects. Students can select from a diverse range of subjects (Cambridge offers 70 subjects), allowing them to explore their interests and tailor their education to suit future career paths. Further, subjects like Math, Science and English Language offer a choice between core and extended syllabus to suit the capability of the student.

Assessment and Examination

Indian Boards: Indian boards generally conduct annual examinations at the end of each academic year. The assessment is primarily based on a combination of theoretical exams and internal assessments. This mode of assessment is based on students’ ability to memorize, recall and write the concepts.

CAIE/PE: Both CAIE and PE employ a continuous assessment approach, with a mix of coursework and final examinations. This method aims to evaluate a student’s understanding and application of concepts over the entire course.


Indian Boards: Indian board certificates are widely recognized within the country. CBSE, in particular, is acknowledged by many Indian and international universities.

CAIE/PE: CAIE/PE are recognized globally, making it a preferred choice for students planning to pursue higher education abroad. It aligns with international standards and is accepted by universities worldwide.

Some advantages of CAIE over Indian boards

  • Choosing between Indian and international boards depends on individual preferences, career goals, and aspirations. While Indian boards provide a solid foundation with a focus on national standards, CAIE/PE offer a more global perspective with flexibility and international recognition. The nature of CAIE/PE curricula ensure students’ success in national entrance exams as well. 
  • Cambridge aims at developing learners who are confident, responsible, reflective, innovative and engaged – equipped for success in the modern world. This promotes development of higher order thinking skills in students. 
  • CAIE/PE curricula give them the requisite skillset to successfully tackle imminent challenges of this uncertain world.
  • International education can open doors to international career opportunities, as it equips students with global skills, language proficiency, and intercultural competencies that are increasingly valued in the global job market.
  •  CAIE/PE develop increased cultural intelligence – the ability to interact effectively and respectfully with people from different cultures. This skill is increasingly valued in today’s globalized world, where individuals and organizations need to navigate diverse cultural contexts.

    GoSchool Perspective: Embracing the World with CAIE:

    At GoSchool, we understand the complexity of choosing an educational path for your child. We believe that every child deserves a curriculum that sparks their curiosity, ignites their passions, and equips them for success in a globalized world. That’s why we proudly offer the Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) curriculum, providing your child with a world-class educational experience.
    As highlighted in the comparison, CAIE’s distinct advantages – from fostering independent learners to nurturing critical thinking skills, and from offering unparalleled subject flexibility to international recognition – align perfectly with GoSchool’s vision. We go beyond rote learning and textbook instruction, creating an environment where children are encouraged to actively participate, innovate, and explore their unique talents.

    Choosing GoSchool and CAIE is more than just an educational decision – it’s an investment in your child’s future. We believe that every child has the potential to be a global citizen, and we provide the tools and environment for them to reach their full potential.

    Join us on this journey of exploration and discovery, and let’s unlock the world together. Contact us today to learn more about how GoSchool and CAIE can empower your child for a bright future.