On November 3, 1958, a dream turned into reality with the formation of the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE). On November 3, 2018 that reality has been transformed into a legacy when CISCE reached the milestone of having completed 60 glorious years as one of the leading national examination boards in India.

The CISCE was established in the year 1958. It was registered under the Societies Registration Act No. XXI of 1860.

The objective of the Council has always been educational, which includes the promotion of science, literature, the fine arts and the diffusion of useful knowledge by conducting school examinations through the medium of English. CISCE exists solely for educational purposes and not for the purpose of profit.

CISCE is dedicated to serving the nation’s children, through high quality educational endeavours, empowering them to contribute towards a humane, just and pluralistic society by creating exciting learning opportunities, with a commitment to excellence.

The Council, being an Examination Board, has always believed in trust and fair play, allowing schools to carve their own niche, catering to the needs of the students while giving freedom to experiment with new ideas and practices, to bring about diversity and plurality – the basic strength for evolution of ideas.

Acknowledging the fact that children are the future and are continually challenged by the ever-changing world, the Council endeavours to help the schools to motivate pupils towards the cultivation of excellence. It helps schools to have an ‘Indian Ethos’, strong roots in the national psyche and be sensitive to national aspirations.

The values and guidelines provided by the predecessors continue to shape the Council in being the most ‘student-friendly’ examination board, in the country. The present office bearers of the Council have inherited a legacy, that is, both, varied and rich. The richer the heritage, the more the responsibilities to live up to the great traditions, values and practices.

Today, CISCE has state-of-the-art offices located at Nehru Place and Saket at New Delhi, Noida (Uttar Pradesh) and Calcutta (West Bengal). From its humble beginnings in a single room rented office in Dholpur House on Shahjahan Road, New Delhi, followed by an office at Nizamuddin East, New Delhi and finally, an office at Nehru Place, New Delhi, the Council has certainly come a long way since 1958 and continues to stride ahead with a modern six-storey office building at Hyderabad, Telangana, nearing completion and ready for use by the end of the year 2019.

The Indian School Certificate (ISC) Examination was first introduced by the Council in the year 1974, which was also the year of transition from the University of Cambridge Examinations held earlier. Special emphasis was laid on the quality of transaction in its affiliated schools, through a constant upgradation of course content.

From its very inception, the Council focused on making education relevant not only to the present, but also the future. Hence in the year 1993, the Research, Development and Consultancy Division (RDCD) was established. The Research, Development and Consultancy Division (RDCD) constantly endeavours to realise the Council’s commitment towards qualitative improvement in education through optimising various dimensions of pupil growth, proficiency levels of teachers and outcome from institutional inputs.

The CISCE conducts training programmes for the teachers on various subjects at the ICS and ISC levels. The training programmes give the teachers clarity on the extent and depth of coverage of the syllabus. The teachers are also trained on the various teaching-learning strategies. These modules help them in developing a better understanding of the assessment and evaluation process too and thus they can guide the students in a better manner.

Teachers are also oriented regarding the changes and modifications made in the syllabus and question papers. The training programmes for teachers are vital for Continuing to contribute to the world of education, CISCE designed and developed a broad-based curriculum for pre-school to Class VIII, so as to facilitate an upward mobility in the teaching-learning process and to lead children in a graded and progressive manner to derive full benefit of the ICSE and ISC syllabi.

This curriculum introduced in November 2016, aims to provide a holistic and broad-based education to help realise not only the inherent potential of the children, but also, equip them with the skills and competencies necessary for the 21st Century.

The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, New Delhi, has introduced a number of online modules pertaining to various processes. These include the modules
for Registration, Examination, Affiliation, etc. This has resulted in smoother functioning and effective communication between the Council and its affiliated schools through its CAREERS Portal.

Live Ink Character Recognition (LICR) technology for evaluation of answer scripts, which provides for instantaneous capture of digitised marks from evaluation centres was introduced from the Examination year 2016. The introduction of archival of documents, including result tabulations of the last 60 years, in electronic form has helped in easy access and quick retrieval.

In addition to automating the various processes, the Council has also implemented online payment gateways and developed an ERP System to automate back office functions. The CISCE Helpline through its dedicated tele-support system provides schools with all support and guidance to navigate through the various modules.

Highlights of CISCE

  • Some of the oldest schools in the country are affiliated to the Council. St Thomas’ School, Kidderpore, Calcutta, established in the year 1789, is one of the oldest schools of the Council.

  • A feather in the Council’s cap was the declaration of the ICSE and ISC examination results through internet way back in the year 1999 - an achievement in those times.

  • In addition to the ICSE and ISC examinations, the Council also conducts the Certificate of Vocational Education (CVE) Examination which provides candidates skill-based education for further employment opportunities.

  • The CISCE conducted the Bhutan Board Examinations till the year 2005.

  • In order to encourage development of skills and intelligence that cannot be tested through a written examination, a component of Internal Assessment was introduced in the evaluation process. The Council was one of the first examination boards in the country to do so.

  • The Council is one of the few education boards in the country that prepares detailed qualitative and quantitative analysis of performance of candidates for all major subjects at the ICSE and ISC levels.

  • The Council encourages and recognises the creative and oratory skills of its students through the organisation of the annual Albert Barrow Creative Writing Inter School competition and the Frank Anthony Inter School Debate Competition.

  • The Council along with its affiliated schools contributes generously towards relief measures during times of natural calamities and disasters. It also provides subsidies to candidates from weaker sections of society.

  • The Council as a child friendly board has many a time gone the extra mile to provide all support to its Oldest school in the country candidates - a prime example being that of conducting an ICSE Examination in the Indian Embassy at Berlin, Germany to enable two excellent international badminton players to participate in the Yonex International Junior Badminton Championship.

  • The Council used the Live Ink Character Recognition (LICR) technology in the examination year 2016 to upload marks at the evaluation centres in encrypted form directly from paper to the cloud-based servers in real time, which is the first of its kind in the world.

  • To ensure an equal footing in the sports arena and for an all-round development of its students, the Council has launched its annual National Sports and Games which prepares a Council team to compete at tournaments organised by the School Games Federation of India (SGFI).

Chronology of CISCE’s Progress

1958: The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations was established on November 3.

1963: The nomenclature of the examination changed from Overseas Certificate Examination to Indian School Certificate Examinations.

1967: The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations was registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860 on December 19.

1970: The first Indian Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (ICSE Class X) was held in November and December.

1974: Transition from the University of Cambridge Examinations held earlier to the ISC.

1982: A system of inspection of schools was initiated by the Council.

1987: The first Overseas school, The Modern High School, Dubai seeks affiliation.

1993: The Research, Development and Consultancy Division (RDCD) was established. 

Special arrangements were made to cater to the students with special needs such as Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia and Attention Deficit Disorder.

1995: The bifurcation of the Syllabuses for ICSE Classes IX and X began. The dissection of animal specimens for the Biology practical examination was discontinued.

1996: The use of simple electronic calculators was permitted at the ISC level. The Certificate of Vocational Education Examination was introduced.

1997: The Council registered its first e-mail address.

1999: The Council made Mathematics and Science optional at the ICSE Level. Internal Assessment in each subject for the ICSE was introduced to enable a more participatory role of teachers and students in the assessment process.

The Council launched its website. The Council introduced the Intranet for effective communication with its affiliated Schools. The ICSE and ISC examination results were made available through Internet or Intranet.

2000: The Derozio Awards for service to the nation in the field of Education and Human Enrichment were instituted by the Council.

2005: Skill-based subjects were introduced for compulsory study in the Group III subjects of the ICSE Examination.

Reading Time of 15 minutes was introduced for all examination papers of the ICSE/ISC Examinations. The use of personal computers by candidates with Special Learning Difficulties was permitted.

2008: Modernisation project was initiated to redefine and computerise operations of the Council’s Examinations.

2010: The Centralised Evaluation of answer scripts was introduced.

2013: The official website of the Council was redesigned with enhanced functionalities, with the objective to make it more relevant, contemporary and user friendly. The Council implemented the Integrated Computerised System for operations by the Council and its affiliated Schools using the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as a part of the modernisation plan. The program was christened with the acronym CAREERS (Council’s Affiliation - Registration - Examination and ERP Systems).

2017: The Council introduced a Curriculum for Pre-School to Class VIII. DigiLocker facility was extended to ICSE / ISC candidates.

2018: The subject “Mass Media and Communication” was introduced at the ICSE and ISC level.

The Pass Percentage for ICSE Examination was made 33% and for the ISC Examination 35%.