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

To,
President
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
munoyat@gmail.com

Also Read FAQ released by ICAI on 17.06.2020

FAQs on Opt-Out of May 2020 Examinations for CA Students

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16 Comments

  1. Lalit Munoyat says:

    ICAI CA May Exam 2020: सुप्रीम कोर्ट में एक हियरिंग के दौरान आईसीएआई ने कहा कि 29 जुलाई से 16 अगस्त 2020 के मध्य प्रस्तावित सीए मई परीक्षाओं के आयोजन पर पुनः विचार किया जा सकता है. इसका कारण कोरोना के बढ़ते केसेस और बिगड़ती स्थिति है. आईसीएआई ने कहा कि वे देखेंगे की मई परीक्षा के आयोजन के समय स्थितियां परीक्षा कराने वाली हैं भी या नहीं. इस बारे में वे स्टेट्स और एग्जामिनेशन सेंटर्स से भी बात करेंगे. सबके मत और कोरोना की उस समय की स्थिति को देखते हुए परीक्षा आयोजित कराने या न कराने पर फैसला होगा.

  2. Lalit Munoyat says:

    Supreme Court suggests guideline changes, asks ICAI to be ‘more flexible’ The Supreme Court (SC) on Mon suggested to ICAI to give some benefit of the doubt to the students and allow them to appear for the scheduled exams in November In what could bring big relief to the CA candidates, the Supreme Court on Monday suggested to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to give some benefit of the doubt to the students and allow them to appear for the scheduled exams in November even if they haven’t officially opted out before the deadline. The Supreme Court was hearing a plea challenging the opt-out option for the CA exams scheduled between July 29 and August 16 in light of the COVID pandemic. ‘The situation is not static’ The Supreme Court further told ICAI that an option to change the examination centre should be made available to all students, at least till the last week before the exam. “The situation is not static, it’s dynamic. You have to change according to the change in the situation,” said the Supreme Court. The counsel for ICAI told the Supreme Court that although the institute could consider allowing a student to appear for the exam in November, allowing a change in the Centre was not feasible. “We have identified 567 centres across the country which have been sanitised and prepared for the examinations in line with the requirements,” the ICAI Counsel told the Supreme Court. Further, ICAI also said that there was an SOP in place to shift a centre in case it falls in a containment zone. ICAI also told the Supreme Court that out of 3 lakh 46 thousand students who had registered for the exam, only 53,000 students had opted out to take the exam in November. The Supreme Court had earlier expressed its intention to ensure that there was no prejudice caused to anybody in time of the pandemic, due to the notification issued by the Institute. The ICAI has been asked to issue a fresh guideline for its students including the suggestions given by the Supreme Court bench on the issue on Monday. The draft notification has to be filed before the Supreme Court before the next date of hearing on July 2

  3. Lalit Munoyat says:

    Exam 2020: Supreme Court suggests guideline changes, asks ICAI to be ‘more flexible’

    The Supreme Court (SC) on Mon suggested to ICAI to give some benefit of the doubt to the students and allow them to appear for the scheduled exams in November
    In what could bring big relief to the CA candidates, the Supreme Court on Monday suggested to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to give some benefit of the doubt to the students and allow them to appear for the scheduled exams in November even if they haven’t officially opted out before the deadline. The Supreme Court was hearing a plea challenging the opt-out option for the CA exams scheduled between July 29 and August 16 in light of the COVID pandemic.

    ‘The situation is not static’

    The Supreme Court further told ICAI that an option to change the examination centre should be made available to all students, at least till the last week before the exam. “The situation is not static, it’s dynamic. You have to change according to the change in the situation,” said the Supreme Court.

    The counsel for ICAI told the Supreme Court that although the institute could consider allowing a student to appear for the exam in November, allowing a change in the Centre was not feasible.
    “We have identified 567 centres across the country which have been sanitised and prepared for the examinations in line with the requirements,” the ICAI Counsel told the Supreme Court.

    Further, ICAI also said that there was an SOP in place to shift a centre in case it falls in a containment zone. ICAI also told the Supreme Court that out of 3 lakh 46 thousand students who had registered for the exam, only 53,000 students had opted out to take the exam in November.

    The Supreme Court had earlier expressed its intention to ensure that there was no prejudice caused to anybody in time of the pandemic, due to the notification issued by the Institute.

    The ICAI has been asked to issue a fresh guideline for its students including the suggestions given by the Supreme Court bench on the issue on Monday. The draft notification has to be filed before the Supreme Court before the next date of hearing on July 2.

  4. AYON GUPTA says:

    ICAI should cancel the May 20 term. If a student is tesred positive for Covid 19 not only the student but others appearing at the same centre will not be allowed as the centre will be sealed off. Also, during exams the students will be under stress already and the situation will be risky to expose them under this pandemic situation. One term delay is advisable and will be the most sane decision under the circumstance.Nothing matters more than the health of our childeen.

    1. CA Lalit Munoyat says:

      Three latest development will decide the issue finally.
      1) All local trains in Mumbai and other cities have been put on hold till 14th Aug 20.
      2) All the schools in Delhi shall remain. Closed till 31st July 20.
      3) The SC is now seized of the issue. By way of a PIL and notice has been issued to the ICAI.
      4) All of the above issues signify the gravity of the pandemic and would ICAI still take the risk of holding exams from 29th July will be interesting to note.

  5. CA Lalit Munoyat says:

    Someone has misunderstood the write up. If you read it carefully I had stated in the begining only that I am neither advocating nor rejecting the conduct of exams from 29th July. I also stated that ideally exams should be held as per the schedule. What prompted me to write this article is to share some genuine concerns. These concerns have now been highlighted by the ICAI in its FAQ issued today. If you read all the 22 questions in the FAQ you will find whether the student if going to write the exams or for treatment of Covid-19 in some hospital.

    Those who wish to go as per the Opt-in/Opt out scheme they are alway welcome to do so as per their own programme without asking for any advise.
    Someone also advised me not to emotionally divert the minds of students who wish to appear. To this I just wish to state that my son is also appearing for the finals and I found him to be in an advantageous position because I am with him to guide him properly. What about those students who are confused?

    Lastly please don’t treate this article as misguiding the students and those who wish to appear should positively appear for July 29 commencing and they should sanitize their minds completely and concentrate only on study and the exams to start 29th July without being misguided by this write up. I have no vested interest in the whole scheme of the things except to the extent it concerns my son. Thanks all of you.

    Best of Luck to all of you dear Students

  6. Naresh Khanna says:

    Practically it makes sense to Cancel the May 20 attempt and Keep Nov 20 attempt. In cases a student is found to be COVID positive and he / she is not able to take up Nov 20 attempt, their option should include to appear May 21 exam with the same fess being carried forward.

  7. CA Lalit Munoyat says:

    The ICAI has today issued FAQ on the SOP for conducting the exams. The FAQ is even more frightening. The FAQ itself has raised 22 questions and tried to answer them. Each question is frightening enough, forget the answer ICAI has provided.

    Q. 15 What will happen if a student is found COVID – 19 positive either before or during the examination or is not in good health to appear in this examination?

    Ans: Such student will not be allowed to appear in July 2020 examination and will be accommodated by ICAI to next examination cycle, i.e. November 2020 on submission of a test report.

    Looking into the health scare due to pandemic and student finding himself with indicative symptoms at any time, such student may opt for next examination cycle on submission of a valid Medical Certificate. The said certificate should be issued by a Medical Practitioner having an MBBS Degree or more.

    Question: How does the ICAI propose to cope with the cases which are asymptomatic i.e. which carry no symptom. Secondly, IF a student contacts Covid-19 during writing a paper and he has to admitted to a Covid-Hospital, who will take responsibility for that? The treatment of Covid-19 in private hospital is not less than 7 to 10 lakhs depending upon whether you require a ventilator or not.

  8. Sahil Goel says:

    Institute is right, its a fair opportunity to all the students according to there Preparations and mental condition.
    These final students are not immature after an attempt they are going to handle the economy in one way or the other. why you making things emotional and putting pressure on institute to cancel the may attempt let these future chartered accountants take the decision for them, atleast they can do that.
    why you guys taking tension for November( future) attempt preparations at the cost of may (present) and want to cancel may attempt for November attempt. what if till November no medicine is available for corona or what if corona is under control till July.

  9. Hitesh says:

    Exam centres, verifications ,results ,following guidelines for Covid, next attempt n paper of it etc all the arrangements are responsibility of the ICAI so I think we should not worry at least for such issues… ultimately it’s dependent of exam preparation …
    Those who have worked hard don’t want to cancel exam and vice a versa..

  10. Vivek K says:

    There is opt in/opt out decision taken by ICAI for May 2020 exams. Opt out decision is very clear where the student appears in the November ‘2020 attempt. But in the case of opt in option, if the student is tested Covid positive during the exams, will the CA Institute give that student to appear in November’2020 directly.

  11. Manali says:

    V true… ICAI shifting the burden of decision to students that is not correct at all… I don’t understand why ICAI is not cancel the may attempt straight forward…???…As the students immunity during exams are already low without any pandemic and this time we have corona which is a deadly virus & also which is worldwide pandemic…..

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