Covid worries: CA students want Nov exams put off, but Institute firm on dates

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 05, 2020

ICAI is firm on conducting the exams scheduled to be held from Nov 21 to December 14.   -  S_S_KUMAR

Even as the CA Institute insisted on holding the November cycle of exams, many of the over 4 lakh students set to appear for the tests took to the social media to urge the Institute to reconsider its decision and postpone the exams.

With the Covid pandemic still raging, most of them were worried about the conditions at the centres and the possibility of the areas falling in the containment zone during the exam dates. Some even petitioned the Prime Minister, Chief Ministers, police chiefs of States and even the public at large.

A student from Chennai said: “Over 4 lakh students are going to take the exam and we believe that the number of examination centres is just around 1,000. Out of this many are part of one campus, where three or four building blocks are made centres. For all the blocks, there is one entry/exit, which means 600 or 800 students will use one common entry/exit.”

Voicing similar concerns, Anushka from Bhopal said, “MHA guidelines prescribe assembly of not more than 200 persons in a closed venue, but that is for standalone buildings not for one block in a campus. Besides, there is no provision of isolation room, in case one is running temperature while entering examination centre.”

While the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India has offered an ‘opt-out’ option that will allow students to write in the next attempt, this has not enthused students.

Under this option, while students will be allowed to carry forward their candidature to the May 2021 cycle and be eligible for all benefits, including the fees paid and exemptions, . there is a flip side to it, say students. For those taking the option, the papers already cleared will not be considered in the next attempt. As a student Amit explains: “I have been given the opt-out facility. Now, the problem is that if I appear in three papers, then get sick, I can opt out. However, the next time, I will have to appear in all the papers irrespective of the fact that I did well in the three papers.”

Reacting to the students demands for postponement, Abhishek Murali, Secretary, Souther India Regional Council of the ICAI, said: “It’s a professional exam and unlike university or board exams where if they miss the exam it’s almost a push for a year... Students are well within their rights to postpone their exams if they feel there is some health risk to them. They have been given a window with the option to write in the next attempt.”

But Naveen Gupta, a Past President of ICAI, felt the Institute should make sure it is capable of ensuring all MHA guidelines are complied with at every exam centre.

G Ramaswamy, another Past President, however, felt the Supreme Court has rightly considered the plea by the ICAI to go ahead with the examination.

Echoing this, Subodh Kumar Agarwal, also a former President, said “... Only 12 students are allowed in a class, centres have also been increased and sanitisation will be done. When everything else is opening up, there is no point in delaying exams as it can delay the progress of students.”

(WIth inputs from Chennai and Mumbai bureaus)

Published on November 05, 2020

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