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ICAI to revise curriculum this year, increase number of IT labs by 40%, announces president

In a first, the institute is revising the CA curriculum after a period of five years as opposed to the norm of 10 years and the first draft has been sent to the government for review.

Written by Sheetal Banchariya | New Delhi |
Updated: March 24, 2022 12:04:54 pm
ICAI President Debashis Mitra

Debashis Mitra, the newly-elected president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), said the institute is working on revising the CA curriculum this year after five years as opposed to the norm of 10 years and the first draft of the revised curriculum has already been sent to the government for review.

Mitra added the institute is also eyeing digital initiatives as part of the action plan for the year 2022-23. Based on the government suggestions, the curriculum will be reworked and then it will be put out in the public domain for 45 days to get suggestions from the stakeholders. The finalised curriculum will be introduced this year, Mitra said.

“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 develop the curriculum five years ago, GST was around but today it has stood the test of time. Hence, the curriculum needs to be revised to meet the industry demands,” Mitra told indianexpress.com.

ICAI is also aiming to increase the number of information technology (IT) labs to integrate technology into the CA curriculum, he added. By the end of this year, the number of labs is expected to go up by 40 per cent.

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“We already have over 150 IT centres, labs as we call them, 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 upgradation of the students and see to what extent they (students) can learn artificial intelligence, blockchain and audit analytical tools,” Mitra said.

Recently, the CA foundation exams were postponed as the dates were clashing with the CBSE board exams. Following this, CA intermediate students have also been demanding deferment. However, Mitra said that there have been no discussions on rescheduling the intermediate exams.

The institute, said Mitra, is aiming to make general management and communication skills classes more than effective, “so that students know how to really communicate and put forward their viewpoints”.

During his tenure as the president, Mitra wants to improve the facility of reading rooms being run by the regional council and branches. It is an initiative by the Students Skills Enrichment Board (Board of Studies-Operations) to provide a conducive reading atmosphere to 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,” he said. 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,” added Mitra, who is also the chairman of the ICAI research wing.

Mitra said that the reasons behind the decreasing pass percentages could be the changes in paper pattern and more focus on application-based questions.

“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,” he said.

In 2019, the overall pass percentage of new and old courses for both group 1 and 2 in CA final (November) exams was around 21 and 23 per cent, respectively. It reduced to 14 and 5 per cent in November 2020. The CA final pass percentage in December 2021 (old course) exams was less than 1.5 per cent.

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