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How to Start a CBSE School Anywhere in India?

There could have hardly been a better time to start/open a CBSE school in India and get CBSE affiliation. We say so because we are witnessing a change of orientation of the board – the 2018 reforms in CBSE Affiliation Bye-Laws, which are by all accounts progressive. The curtailment of paperwork, credence to state-verified documents and attestations by CBSE board and vice – versa has simplified the process of CBSE affiliation.

How to Start a CBSE School Anywhere in India

The changes that have been made in the affiliation bye-laws 2018 are not just limited to the modus-operandi of the affiliation process but also cover all the aspects of school management, suggesting or mandating changes as necessary.

This article focuses on directing school promoters to start a school and get affiliated to CBSE in the wake of CBSE Affiliation Bye-Laws 2018. Bye-laws have been admittedly bifurcated into pre-affiliation and post-affiliation norms. The pre-affiliation norms apply for schools aspiring for a CBSE affiliation and the post-affiliation process applies to schools that are already inspected by the affiliation committee and their recommendations have been affirmative.

Notably, Central Board of SecondaryStart a CBSE School Education (CBSE) is the national board of school education that has 27783 affiliated schools to date with a student count of 2 crores instructed by 70 lakhs teachers. I believe changes of such proportion in an enterprise like CBSE are bound to have noteworthy effects on education in India.

The revamped affiliation bye-laws October 2018, which came into effect are expected to benefit many, not in the least the school promoters or eduprenurs who are seeking to start a school with CBSE affiliation. The move has come in response to the concerns about the complexity and volume of the previous bye-laws document that was hard to follow and comprehend independently.

 The new avatar of the bye-laws document is concise and puts into effect several qualitative changes in the roles of the bodies, for instance, the priority shift in the affiliation- inspection committee, focus on learning outcomes and redefined role of teachers making it more wholesome and accountable.


CBSE provides affiliation to the schools within the country and abroad, the nomenclature used by CBSE for different types of affiliation is listed under -

 Approval for Middle Class Syllabus which implies issuance of permission by the board to run the board’s curriculum till class VIII.

General Affiliation of a Secondary School or Senior Secondary School.

Upgradation of a school approved for Middle Class Syllabus up to Secondary or Senior Secondary Level.

Upgradation of an affiliated Secondary School up to Senior Secondary Level.

Switch over of Schools upto Secondary and Senior Secondary Level. Schools already affiliated with other Boards of education are granted affiliation to CBSE under this category.

Regular Affiliation of schools - One-time regular Affiliation will be granted to the schools run by Government and related societies like Central Schools, Navodaya Vidyalayas, Sainik Schools etc.

The single most differentiating measure that has been put into effect by the revamped affiliation bye-laws is the provision of mandatory composite affiliation. Earlier it was applicable to only selective categories. It will be mandatory for the schools to run all classes starting from the incipient class and up to the class for which affiliation has been granted. For Instance class 1st to 8th , class 1st to 10, from 6th to 8th ,6th to 10th , 6th to 12th . There are 2 provisions within the composite affiliation which to me is a paradigm shift, one of them is composite affiliation from class 1 to class 12 and the other is the concept of “Innovative Schools”. The composite affiliation afforded to the innovative schools is from class 9th to 10th and class 9th to 12th. The move opens up a big opportunity for mainstreaming alternative educational philosophies like Montessori, Steiner/Waldorf, etc

Initially, the affiliation to any of the private-unaided school expires in 3 years and renewal is subject to the board which will examine the consistency of the practices of the school in accordance with the bye-laws. This move has brought a lot of applause from all the stakeholders as it encourages a sustainable and integral approach.

Online applications for all categories open on 1st January and close by 31st March of a calendar year. Please refer Appendix-VI of Affiliation Bye-Laws for the detailed time frame of applications category-wise.

How to start a school in India?

Essential Conditions for Affiliation of Schools

CBSE recognizes the role of Trust/Society/Company running the school in providing ‘healthy learning environment’ and establishing a center of ‘educational excellence’. Essential conditions for affiliation of schools are outlined here —

The establishment of the school - the application for affiliation has to be made by an existing school. The school could be set up, in case of private-unaided schools, by a registered non-proprietary society/trust /section 8 company. The schools cannot accept capitation fee or accept donations. We have covered the subject starting a new school in India in a separate blog post click here to read.

Legal Registration or registration under the law - the school that is aspiring for affiliation to CBSE must be run by the society/trust/section 8 company which is legally registered under respective registration acts.

School Management Committee - CBSE mandates the formation of a School Management Committee for every school affiliated to the board as stipulated in the Right to Education Act 2009. There are stipulations about who would the SMC members be and what would be the functions of SMC. The main points regarding the constitution of the SMC are given below

– Head of the school is the member secretary of the SMC

– The SMC of a private school can have no more than 21 members.

– Two parents of the two separate students of the school and two from the teaching staff will be in membership

– Two teachers from other school or college will be appointed as members

– No relative of SMC member will be appointed as the school Principal

– Not lesser than 50% women will form the SMC.

– The employment of teachers and the staff is incumbent on the SMC

Guidelines regarding the constitution of the SMC must be strictly adhered to, The School Management committee, besides ensuring the observance of the CBSE affiliation norms will also oversee the finances and provision of school supplies including furniture, science equipment, books for the library, teaching aids, and sports material. For detailed roles and responsibilities refer Chapter 9, CBSE bye-laws 2018.

School promoters may procure reliable, state of the art school supplies from online stores like

State Government Recognition - any new school has to be recognized by the state or UT. This recognition bestowed by the government’s department of education is also understood to be an effective affiliation to the state board. The process is undertaken as per the stipulations of Right to Education Act 2009. At the time of applying for affiliation, the school shall submit the formal letter of recognition to the CBSE.

No Objection Certificate from the State Government - The applicant schools must apply and acquire from the office of District Education Officer (DEO). DEO's office becomes a vantage point, it clears the way by stating that the State does not have any objection regarding the school’s affiliation to CBSE. The NOC thus issued remains valid for an indefinite period for CBSE’s purpose even if there is a date put on it. NOC will stand admissible unless it is formally withdrawn by the issuing authority.

Land - The school land must be owned/ leased by the trust /society/company. In the event of the lease, the minimum term of expiration must be 15 years.

The size of the land on Land and Building requirements for CBSE affiliationwhich the school building is planned to be constructed must be 8000 square meters (2 acres). The renewed emphasis of the CBSE on sports and physical education has increased the importance of the playground and sports infrastructure to a degree without precedent.

Keeping in view, the differences between the territory, demographics, level of urbanization and density of population, the land requirement has been benchmarked less than 2 Acres.

CBSE bye-laws expressly delineate the land required to establish a CBSE affiliated school in different regions of the country that are situated in the cities (beyond 15 lakh population), metropolitan cities, class X cities, cities within the National Capital Region, state capital cities, hilly areas, North Eastern States, J&K and the Islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep. In these places, land area requirement may vary from half an acre to 2 acres depending upon the category. The exact land requirement for your location must be in accord to Chapter 3 of the CBSE affiliation Bye-Laws 2018.

It must be noted that the concession made in the minimum land requirement accompany conditions of limiting the enrollments and the number of sections for each grade.

The physical Infrastructure of the school must also be in accordance o the revamped CBSE bye-laws for opening a CBSE school. The minimum dimensions for the -

Classroom is 8 x 6 meters (~ 500 sq.ft)

Computer lab and laboratories is 9 x 6 meters (~ 600 sq.ft)

Library is 14 x 8 meters (~ 1206 sq. ft)

Specific details are listed under Chapter 4 of the Affiliation Bye- Laws 2018.

Website - schools applying for affiliation are required to host a website and maintain it. The website must be exclusively used by the school for important declarations, information or for administrative ends etc.

Documents Needed - the application for affiliation is submitted on-line, accompanying it are the scanned copies of documents. The complete list of the documents that are required at the time of application is listed in our blog post titled documents required while applying for CBSE Affiliation. They are also available as annexures II, III, IV in CBSE Affiliation Bye-Laws 2018

The letter of intent---the letter of intent is issued by the CBSE basing it on the completion of conditions and favorable report from the Inspection Committee.

The affiliation to any board simultaneous to CBSE is not allowed for any school that intends to accommodate both batches in the same infrastructure and space. In other words, Dual Affiliation is not allowed.

Online Application

The Bye-Laws necessitate that the entire process goes online. The application and the subsequent procedure has been listed for the optimal understanding of the school promoters.

School promoters must get their school registered with the CBSE on the board’s official website. Prior to the application, scanned copies of the prescribed documents must be readied for uploading and promoters must be ready to pay the affiliation fee as per  Appendix-1 CBSE Affiliation Bye-Laws 2018.

The Affiliation Inspection - The affiliation inspection committee comprises at least 2 people, one of them is an academician. The suitability of the school for becoming a CBSE affiliated school will be judged through the assessment of several aspects including teaching methods, learning outcomes and overall academic standards maintained by the school.

CBSE would mostly concentrate on pedagogical styles being employed, the status of sports and games, student –counselor relationship, academics, reading habits and browsing habits of the students and other such subjects which ultimately arrive at raising the standard of education.

The schools are instructed to pay an annual sports fee which will be subject to change from time to time on the CBSE Board's discretion.  The school will send students representing the school in various inter-school sports and games competitions, rules related to the participation in the inter-school competition will be directed by CBSE.

If an “innovative school” apply for affiliation with the CBSE it will have to demonstrate how useful is its way of teaching & learning besides the suitability of pedagogical styles within the context of the K-12 school system in India.

Commencement Certificate must be earned by the school by applying via the grant letter stating that all the conditions have been met.

The changes in the bye-laws of affiliation will shift the perspective of the inspectors, the need for the training of teachers will be better assessed and they will be oriented to the learning needs of the 21st Century.

For curricular implementation, the schools will get their due of expert guidance from the academicians. The ones who want to start a school will have the obvious benefit of the fast-tracked process of affiliation. As for the existing schools—affiliated or candidate for affiliation-- the entire effort and thought will not be invested in infrastructural superficialities. They will have the time and need to reflect upon obtaining and maintaining the desired levels of education.

Difference between the CBSE and state boards

CBSE is the leading national school certificate examination conducting board. It is followed by the CISCE as far as national boards of affiliation in India is concerned. A comparative assessment of CBSE and ICSE boards is available in a separate article, click here to read.

A comparative assessment of CBSE and ICSE

Though many education programs, national and international, are in the fray the schools affiliated to the board are seen throughout the country as viable and successful preparatory pre-university institutions. CBSE also runs schools in some countries besides India too. While IB and IGCSE are seen as synonymous with global education in India, CBSE international and CBSE premium schools are the initiatives of the board taken in view of the need for international orientation of school education within the bounds of affordability. We have attempted a comparative analysis of IB, IGCSE, ICSE, and CBSE in another article, click here to read.

A comparative analysis of IB, IGCSE, CBSE and ICSE

CBSE board and schools affiliated to it enjoy a reputation of efficiency and transparency in operations.  For assistance on any aspect of opening a CBSE school or obtaining CBSE affiliation, up gradation or CBSE switchover of an existing school, contact us.

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