Who should take the decision whether May-20 exams should be held or cancelled to Nov-20? The ICAI or the Students
Copy of the letter mailed to the Hon’ble President ICAI regarding holding of May-20 exams. Opt-in/ Opt-out Scheme
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
ICAI Bhawan, Indraprastha Marg,
Post Box No. 7100, New Delhi – 110 002
Hon’ble Atul Kumar Gupta,
Many messages, verified or not, are running round the Social Media giving the impression that Examinations – May-20 Attempt have been cancelled. Yesterday I got an official communication from the Institute which stated that the Institute has given an option to the students who wish to appear for the May-20 attempt 29th July-18 to August and those you don’t wish then they can skip it and appear for the Nov-20 attempt. You have called it Opt-In /Opt-out scheme. In this connection I wish to share some of my views.
While I am of the firm view that exams should be held as per revised schedule because students have been preparing for it for last 6 months but there are certain issues which too should be considered: Well I am very sure that the points raised hereunder must have been duly considered while offering Opt-In/Opt-Out Scheme yet some clarification may be provided:
I make it very clear that I am neither suggesting nor opposing postponement of the May-20 attempt.
When the ICAI came with the Opt-in/Opt-out Scheme for May-20 exams, my son whose is also a student final year asked me “ Papa what should I do? Should I opt for the May-20 or opt out it for Nov-20 exams. I was not able to answer it as it depended on his preparation. But one thing that came to my mind immediately was that “ Who should have taken the decision for conducting or postponing the May-20 Exams?
It is the primary responsibility of the ICAI to hold the exam and put in place its course of action by planning the days of the exams and making an Administrative Final Decision without any uncertainty in the future onit.
But to my utter astonishment I found the ICAI avoiding to make this critical decision but instead it passed the buck to the students to make their decision by introducing a scheme Opt-In/ Opt-Out and that too with a declaimer that it depends upon instructions from the government that may be issued in this regard. With this view at the back of mind I want that some clarifications may kindly be provided: ( I have mailed a copy of this letter to the Hon’ble President in my capacity as a senior member of the Institute for 37 years so that the locus standi is not question)
1) Whether schools or colleges would be available during that period to work as examcentres.
2) Due to the norm of social distancing only lesser students could be accommodated in the existing space. Has it made arrangements for additional spaces to accommodate the remaining students.
3) The exams would be over only by 18th August. It generally takes 2 months to evaluate the answer sheets before the results are declared. Thus results would be out by about 21st October. Some failed students may apply for reverification, the results ofwhich take about 15 days.
Thus it would be 5th November. How to start exams from 2nd November?
4) While appearing for exams the students and their parents would be under tremendous pressure and protection from Covid-19 would be weighing more in the minds of the students than the answers to the question. Could anyone provide aguarantee that the minds of the students would not have been vitiated while writing the paper?
5) In order to meet the deadline for the November attempt, the Institute may try to shorten every process of exams mostly, reducing the number of days for evaluations of answer sheets. This would be very counter-productive for the students as the evaluator may himself be under pressure to meet the shortened timeline. Can anyone guarantee that the evaluator would be in a perfect state of mind to do justice to the process of evaluation?
6) There would not be enough time for the setters of the question papers for the November-20 attempt. The Institute cannot use the second set or papers which were set for May-20 because in the November attempt all the amendments made by the Budget-20 will have to be incorporated.
7) Any reason why the institute has issued the Opt-In/ Opt-out scheme? When the ICAI itself is not able to make a firm decision how do you expect the students to make such a decision particularly when they are mentally stretched during this period of corona and some of them may also face depression. They are of an average age of about 24 years and who have perhaps never been exposed to such critical decision making earlier in their life under such highly uncertain futures. Please don’t shift the onus of making decisions on to the students. Make a firm decision whether to hold the exams or not to hold so that the students rest assured of the same.
8) The students and the members do hold a perception that any representation made to the ICAI on any important issue or feedback is generally ignored and that even the Secretariat does not display courtesy by not responding even by one liner. There is discontent amongst them in this regard.
9) There is also a perception that the ICAI has come out with optional scheme not on the basis of their representation but under pressure from National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) whose National Secretary Lokesh Chugh issued a statement stating that“it is totally insensitive and inhumane decision for CA and CS students as they are notin a position to prepare for the examinations right now.” The NSUI has also demanded to cancel the Chartered Accountants’ exam of ICAI”
10) If not guarded properly, the ICAI may become a breeding ground for such Unions whose objective is not the protection of the Students but to fulfil their own political objectives.
Regards & Thanks
CA Lalit Munoyat
B.Com.(Hons), CS, FCA, DISA-MN 034989
# 98201 93508
Also Read FAQ released by ICAI on 17.06.2020–