The Pre Independence Era

As a result of the Calcutta University Commission (1917-19) popularly called the Sadler Commission, Boards of Secondary Education had started coming up in various parts of the country. U. P. Board of High School and Intermediate Education, the first such Board to be set up, was looking after the interest of a large area including Rajputana, Central India, and Gwalior. A stage had, however, come when that Board did not find it possible to shoulder this extraterritorial responsibility any longer. The Government of the United Provinces, therefore, represented to the Government of India, that the jurisdiction of the U. P. Board was too unwieldy for it to maintain an efficient administration and that the candidates from areas outside the United Provinces should not be admitted to the Board's examination beyond the year 1927-28.

As a result of the representation, the Government of India suggested two alternatives for the consideration of the Administration of Princely States in Rajputana, Central India, and Gwalior. One suggestion was to set up a joint Board for all the areas concerned and the other was to have a separate Board for each of the areas thus affected.

There were many advantages of the Joint Board, chief among them being the economy in expenditure both on the administration and examination and the comprehensive representations that would be available from all the areas concerned. It was, therefore, decided that a joint-board for all the areas should be evolved. As such the Board of High School and Intermediate Education, Rajputana including Ajmer-Merwara, Central India and Gwalior was established in 1929 by a resolution of the Government of India. The Board, as constituted under that resolution, had its headquarters at Ajmer with the agent to the Governor-General in Rajputana and Chief Commissioner, Ajmer-Merwara, Lt Col. G.D. Ogilvie, as the Controlling Authority and a total membership of 38 including representatives of the administered areas and States within its jurisdiction.

The formation of the Board represented a bold experiment in interstate integration and cooperation in the important sphere of secondary education. In his inaugural address at the first meeting of the Board held at Ajmer on August 12, 1929, the then Chief Commissioner of Ajmer-Merwara and Controlling Authority of the Board, had aptly observed : "It is a particular pleasure to me to note that the formation of the Board, apart from being a great step in the furtherance and advancement of education in Rajputana and Central India, constitutes, in addition, a happy instance of unanimous cooperation among the Indian States, who have joined in our labors.”

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Blue Print Image
  • Building Architecture: Karl Malte Von Heinz, Architect, Delhi
  • In 1927 the area was known as : BANJ IMLI, Ajmer (Todarmal Marg)
  • Nazul Land rent Rs.900/- per annum (letter of Govt. of Ajmer dated 29.12.1954).
  • Area of Land : 5551 sq. yard/ 49959 Sq. Ft./4641 Sq. Mtr.
Ajmer Image
Ajmer Image
Ajmer Image

The establishment of the Board led to rapid growth and expansion of secondary education in the vast territories comprising the princely States in Rajputana, Central India, Gwalior, Ajmer, and Merwara. The Board also did creditable work on improving the quality and standard of education in the institutions recognized by it through periodical inspections carried out on its behalf by competent and experienced inspectors. To the same end the Board also established on the initiative of the then Chairman, Dr. I.C.Chatterjee, under its management and control, a Post- Graduate Training College for Teachers in Ajmer in 1941. The College fulfilled a real need and resulted in a great improvement in the tone of education throughout the wide area served by the Board. The College, which turned out hundreds of trained graduate teachers from 1941 to 1949 had to be closed down in 1950 as the number of students seeking admission to it began to dwindle owing to the opening of several such colleges affiliated to the University of Agra.

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The Board conducted for the first time the High School Examination and Intermediate Examinations in Arts and Science in the year 1930. It had 70 High Schools and 12 Intermediate Colleges at the beginning, but the number of recognized institutions increased rapidly from year to year and by 1940, the Board had recognized 124 High Schools and 20 Colleges. By 1947 the number of recognized High Schools rose to 201 and that of Colleges to 42. Similarly, the number of examinees which was 3091 in 1930 rose to 6412 in 1940 and 13770 in 1947.

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In 1947 with the setting up of the University of Rajasthan, the examination of the schools in the State of Rajputana went over to it. In 1950-51, Madhya Bharat formed its Board, leading to a consequent shrinkage in its membership. Thus, the jurisdiction of the Board was confined to the States of Ajmer, Bhopal and Vindhya Pradesh only. The name of the Board was also changed to the Board of High School and Intermediate Education, Ajmer, Bhopal and Vindhya Pradesh. In 1952, the Board was given its present name, "The Central Board of Secondary Education" by the Government of India and the constitution of the Board was amended to extend its jurisdiction to the Part C States and Part D Territories. In 1953 the constitution of the Board was further amended to include some other areas besides the Part C States and Part D Territories.

Laying stone

History in Making: The Foundation stone of CBSE Ajmer was laid by Shri C. D. Deshmukh, the First Indian to be appointed as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India in 1943 by the British Raj authorities. He subsequently served as the Finance Minister in the Union Cabinet.

25 Years under the aegis of Dr. Zakir Hussain
The Year 1954: The Board Celebrates 25 years under the aegis of Dr. Zakir Hussain

With a view to enabling the Board to play a useful role in the field of secondary education, to make its services available to various educational institutions in the country and to meet the educational needs of students who had to move, from state to state, the Board was reconstituted on 1st July, 1962 and the erstwhile Delhi Board of Higher Secondary Education was merged with the Central Board and all the educational institutions recognised by the Delhi Board were deemed as institutions recognized by the Central Board.

Subsequently, the Union Territories of Chandigarh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim also joined the Board. Although the Central Board of Secondary Education was constituted as an autonomous body, according to the constitution of the Board, its supreme control was vested in the Government of India and the Controlling Authority, the Secretary (Previously called Educational Adviser), Ministry of Education (renamed later as the ministry of Human Resource Development), Government of India was given the right to address and communicate to the Board views on any matter.

The Board was also entrusted with the responsibility of advising the Administrations of Union territories as to the courses of instruction and syllabi of middle school education to secure co-ordination among the middle, secondary and higher secondary schools.

It was at this stage the Board was assigned an important function of instituting an all India Higher Secondary Examination which would serve the double purpose of setting up a model that the various State Boards of Secondary Education might emulate and also meeting the special needs of students whose parents were not permanent residents of any particular state and thus had to move from one state to another from time to time.

The office of the Board came to be housed in a rented building at Indraprastha Marg, New Delhi. The Board continued to have its registered office at Ajmer, where it had constructed a well-designed building in the year 1935. On the merger of Delhi Board of Education Secondary with CBSE in 1962, the Headquarters of the Board was shifted to New Delhi. Besides the Higher Secondary Examination, Delhi Scheme, the Board also conducted the Higher Secondary Multipurpose Examination and Higher Secondary Technical Examination.

In 1963-64 the Board had 436 affiliated schools from sixteen states and one Union Territory. It also included one school in Tehran, Iran.

By now the Board had started carrying out administrative as well as academic inspection of affiliated schools. Teacher training programs, seminars in academic areas and workshops were also included in the activities of the Board.

In 1965-66 the Board introduced a one-year course in Higher Secondary Examination for four schools for boys and three schools for girls in the Union Territory of Delhi.

By 1967 six more Union Territories joined the Board.

By 1970, 743 schools from all over the country constituted the CBSE family.

It would be seen that the CBSE had been undergoing organic growth, shaping and reshaping itself in response to new realities in the field of educational ideas and new local requirements.

In 1975, the number of schools affiliated with CBSE crossed 1000.

The year 1977 witnessed the first all India Secondary School Examination and 1979, the All India Senior School Certificate Examination. In the year 1982, the CBSE developed a pioneering curriculum in Computer Education which spelt the genesis of a revolution in this field. Another important development during this period was the launching of the Sahodaya Movement. It was a unique movement that stressed on the need to develop by capitalizing on the strengths of member institutions to grow and progress in the spirit of caring and sharing. In 1988, the Board conducted the first all India Pre-medical and Pre-dental Entrance Examination in which 77,000 candidates registered. There were 157 exam centers in 26 States and UTs capitals.

It was during this period that the Board started National Open School, which catered to the needs of students who could not attend formal schools. The NIOS moved out of CBSE and became a full-fledged organization in 1989-90.

The Board had introduced a novel scheme of awarding merit certificates to candidates who figured in 0.1% of the score in each subject, dispensing with the practice of declaring toppers based on aggregate marks.

The Year 1989 is important in history as CBSE started functioning from its high rise building at Preet Vihar, in Delhi.

It was also in the year 1989 that a unique teacher-driven CBSE - ELT project in collaboration with the British Council was launched and the first examination in the new package was conducted in the year 1993 at the end of class X. In keeping with the expectations of the New Education Policy 1986 and also to further improve the quality of education, a comprehensive exercise was undertaken by the Board in 1989, in collaboration with NCERT to review the syllabi and courses in various subjects.

The year 1990 witnessed the introduction of a Comprehensive Certificate of Achievement (COA) for the outgoing students. This was in a way, the genesis of the Continuous and Comprehensive School-based Evaluation (CCE). The Board also introduced many vocational courses during this year.

The number of affiliated schools crossed the 3000 mark in the year 1990, and more significantly many schools in foreign countries had been affiliated to the Board.

Another major program launched by the Board in the year 1991 was the special Adult Literacy Drive (SALD). The Board embarked on a program of decentralizing its administration and six regional offices at Delhi, Ajmer, Chandigarh, Allahabad, Chennai, and Guwahati came into existence.

The year 1992 witnessed the introduction of Multiple Sets of Question Papers in all subjects in class X and class XII examinations. In 1998, the board launched its flagship program Tele Helpline for students to provide free of cost psychological counselling for developing positive coping mechanisms to deal with exam-related stress.

The Competitive Sports Program for Independent Schools was also launched during 1998.

Another major reform in curriculum revision was the introduction of the 'Frontline Curriculum' during 1999-2000, wherein 10% of the obsolete syllabus was replaced with new developments in the relevant subjects.

The provision of E-mail and Internet service for students to access their results was a breakthrough achieved by the Board in 2000. The Board also set up an International Cell for awarding International Accreditation Certificate in Indian Languages and Culture for the people of Indian origin settled abroad.

CBSE Teacher Awards were instituted for the first time to acknowledge the contribution of teachers and principals.

Special Training Programs for principal’s empowerment in Strategic Leadership at IIM Ahmedabad were some of the new initiatives in the year 2001.

The first All India Engineering Entrance Examination was successfully conducted by the Board in May 2002.

The year 2003 marks the year of Platinum Jubilee of the board which was celebrated in the most befitting manner with the release of First Day Postal Covers, Films on the activities and philosophy of the board. The celebrations were attended by the then Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Sh. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who inaugurated the new Academic Wing of CBSE, Shiksha Sadan at Rouse Avenue. Project Shikshanet was inaugurated by the then Hon’ble Minister of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India, Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi during the Platinum Jubilee year function.

Disaster Management Curriculum and Education in Lifeskills were also launched in the year 2003.

Adolescent Education Programme was introduced in 2005 under the directives of MHRD to address the needs of adolescents concerning their health, personality for holistic development.

The New Syllabi and Text Books prepared by NCERT in accordance with NCF 2005 were undertaken.

Six Satellite intensive terminals were allocated to CBSE by ISRO for facilitating an Interactive Distance based education system through DTH. In 2007, two more CBSE Regional Offices were set up in Patna and Bhubaneshwar.

For the first time in 2007, CBSE, in collaboration with WHO, India, conducted a Global School Health Survey (GSHS) in 75 affiliated schools of various types selected in a random survey by CDS WHO, Geneva.

In 2008-09, the CBSE Annual Report appeared in a refreshing digitized format and was presented in the CD also.

Question Papers on major subjects in X & XII were re-designed on the basis of NCF with a paradigm shift from rote to skill learning under a new format.

Two New elective subjects, Heritage Craft and Graphics Designs were introduced in Class XI.

In 2009, Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation was introduced by the Board as a new module of examination/evaluation.

CBSE Students Global Aptitude Index, perhaps the first-ever psychometric Test to be prepared by any education board in the country was introduced to provide a scientific assessment of a child’s interest and aptitude. The test aimed to guide a class X student in selecting subjects in +2 based on interest, aptitude, and motivation. The first edition was conducted across the world simultaneously on January 2011 for 2.12 candidates.

The practice of declaring Compartment/Fail discontinued for 2010 examinations and for the first time, Class X results were declared in grades. The statement of subject-wise performance was issued reflecting grade point (GP) and CGPA.

The first Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) was conducted in 2011 by CBSE in accordance with the guidelines of NCTE for determining eligibility for appointment as a teacher for classes I to VIII.

From the year 2012-13, CBSE started School Quality Assessment and Accreditation to assess schools through standardized instruments and the process of internal (self- evaluation) and external assessment (peer review)

2014: UGC National Eligibility Test was conducted by CBSE. The test aimed to determine the eligibility of Indian nationals for JRF and Assistant Professorship.

The inclusive Education Cell was established to equip schools with a system that works in collaboration with counselling authorities and eminent psychiatrists to ensure equal opportunities to persons with disabilities by sensitizing teachers through training.

The year 2015 marks the initiation of several digital initiatives by the CBSE. For the first time, class X and XII results for all regions were declared together. The Board Examination Certificate was also introduced using Global Document Type Identifier (GDTI). e-CBSE was launched to provide books on various classes and subjects including Academic, Vocational and support material through a portal and mobile app. ‘SARANSH’, an online facility for comprehensive self-review for schools was also introduced during this period.

Another ambitious project by the name of UDAAN was launched to provide guidance and training to deserving girl students from economically and disadvantaged backgrounds and to prepare them for the professional engineering entrance examinations while studying in Classes XI and XII.

In 2016, the board witnessed further growth in digital initiatives undertaken with the intent of improving the delivery systems and contributing to the Digital India initiative of the Government of India. The Online Affiliated Schools Information System (OASIS) was started which consolidated the entire school information on a digital platform and could be used for several important activities such as fixing up exam centres, availability of infrastructure, academic and non-academic faculty. Exam Centre Locator software was developed using the latitude and longitude information fetched by geotagging.

Central Academic Repository for storage, access, and updating academic records of students by the name Parinam Manjusha was also made available to students through Digi-lockers.

During this year, CBSE also became the first board to partner with the Ministry of External Affairs in a landmark e-initiative called ‘e-sanad’ which facilitates online attestation of academic documents of Indian students aspiring to go abroad for higher education or employment.

Based on the feedback, while the ongoing CCE system was discontinued in 2017, the class X examinations in the conventional mode were restored in class X.

Health and sports education were made compulsory in schools in classes 9 to 12 from 2018. The move of CBSE was well appreciated by the Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, who personally wrote to the board. CBSE also rescheduled exams for students representing India at International Sports Events. A manual detailing sports guidelines for Classes IX to XII and methodologies for implementing was also shared with all the schools to promote Health and sports for all.

The Board opened its first Twitter and Facebook accounts while the YouTube account was activated as part of its outreach program and registered its digital presence for increased responsiveness to the public.

The Affiliation Bye-Laws were revised in 2018 for the ease of doing business with stakeholders.

The highlight of 2019 was the Digital India Award for ‘Exemplary Online services conferred on CBSE. The latest podcast platform ‘CBSE-Shiksha Vani’ has been launched to disseminate important information on Academic, Training Initiatives, Examinations, and much more in a timely, educative, lucid and seamless manner.

As part of the exam reform process, CBSE conducted Exams in 2019 with skill based subjects in February and academic subjects in March 2019 to bring quality in evaluation and uniformity in the declaration of results.

The community outreach program of providing psychological counselling which began in 1998 has been broad based to include many features such as using Interactive Voice Response System for audio counselling, Question Answer columns in newspapers, Multimedia educative material on exam Anxiety, Depression, Aggression and other issues through YouTube, Twitter, and website.

The board, thus continues to march ahead with innovations, reforms and positive initiatives with new thrust on the formation of Hubs of Learning- for Collaboration among Affiliated Schools for self-improvement and quality enhancement.

The recent Compendium of Academic Courses after +2 provides students and parents the much needed guidance on the traditional and new age courses, institutions and eligibility for future preparation.

Artificial Intelligence, Yoga and Early Childhood Care have been introduced as skill subjects in class X and XII to enhance and empower the learning capacity of students with ample sensitization in Integrity and Ethics Modules cutting across all disciplines of teaching.

Chart of CBSE
Status of CBSE

For the smooth execution of its functions, the Board has set up Regional Offices in different parts of the country to be more responsive to the affiliated schools as under:


  • Ajmer
  • Allahabad
  • Chennai
  • Delhi
  • Guwahati
  • Panchkula


  • Bhubaneshwar
  • Patna


  • Dehradun
  • Thiruananthapuram

CBSE Goes For Further Expansion With 6 More New Regional Offices 2019

Delhi West,

Centres Of Excellence for Quality and Capacity Building

The Board has set up 13 Centres of Excellence as given hereunder to equip in-service teachers of the affiliated schools, with the latest updates and strategies through various Capacity Building Programmes.


  • Rae Bareli
  • COE, Kakinada
  • COE, Pune
  • COE, Panchkula


  • Ajmer
  • Bhubaneshwar
  • Allahabad
  • Chennai
  • Guwahati
  • Patna
  • Dehradun
  • Thiruvananthapuram

More COEs

From the academic session 2019-2020, the Board will have 04 more COEs in Bengaluru, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Delhi West, and Noida. Schools located outside India will be looked after by Regional Office Delhi East.

Hall Of Fame
Secretaries of The Board
CBSE Headquaters and Regional Offices