Debashish Mitra, The new president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has decided that the institute will have digital initiatives as a course of action for the year 2022-23. The institute is eyeing to increase the number of IT labs so that it can integrate technology in the CA curriculum.
“We already have over 150 IT centres… labs as we call them centres across India. At the moment, these labs help students learn Tally and other skills but we want to use them for further enhancement of the technological up gradation of the students and see to what extent they (students) can learn artificial intelligence, blockchain and audit analytical tools,” Mitra said in an interview.
They authorities are planning to increase the number of labs by 40 percent. In other news, the CA foundation exams were postponed due to its clash with the CBSE exams. Due to this incident, the CA intermediate students also expected their exams to be deferred. Mitra however has said that there have been no discussions to postpone the intermediate exams.
Mitra has informed the media that they are working on revising the CA curriculum this year, after a term of five years. Earlier, the CA curriculum was revised every 10 years. The revised curriculum has also been forwarded to the government on March 22. He has also informed the press that that the feedback they received from the government is being given its due importance. The modifications the government has suggested will be incorporated in the curriculum and will be put up in the public domain for a period of 45 days for stakeholders to send their feedback. The final curriculum will be introduced this year.
“One of the major focus areas of the revised curriculum is application-based learning… we’re going to see how much of an open book system we can have and ask case study based questions. It will help us move away from rote learning and go for application of mind. When we developed the curriculum five years ago, GST was not around but today it has stood the test of time. Hence, the curriculum needs to be revised to meet the industry demands,” stated Mitra. He mentioned further that the institute was putting in a lot of effort to make the students of the institute communicate better. It was also working on its general management superior.
Mitra during his tenure wants to see an improvement in the reading rooms run by the regional council and branches. The Students Skills Enrichment Board (Board of studies-Operation) has taken an oath to provide a conducive studying environment for the students.
“Many of the students who are joining us come from Tier-II, Tier-III cities. They’re not coming from Delhi and Ahmedabad. They should have access to knowledge even with limited resources,” Mitra stated. “At present, there are over 170 reading rooms/ libraries across India. We also want to upgrade our video lectures and include more animations. If you have a lot of animations, it becomes very easy to understand and learning becomes a lot of fun,” Mitra said.
The percentage of students for both the old and new courses of both group 1 and group 2 in the CA final exams held in November 2019 was 21 and 23 percent respectively. The percentages dropped to 14 percent and 5 percent respectively in 2020. The final pass percentage in 2021 was 1.5 percent.
Mitra blamed the changes in the exam patterns and the focus on application based questions for the decreasing pass percentages.
“The examinations have not been tougher. We have multiple choice questions and are making the questions more application-oriented, asking more questions on case studies. So, if students are in a position to apply their mind to the subject, then they will survive and do well. If they have just memorised the subject and come to appear for the exams, the chances are that they will not pass,” stated Mitra.
Photo Credit: DNA India