Inclusion of a ‘General English and Business Communication’ subject at the foundation (entrance) level and replacement of theoretical Information technology (IT) papers at the Intermediate and Final level with two practical IT training courses, are some of the other amendments proposed.
“Keeping in mind the procedures involved for approval of the scheme, we expect to launch the new scheme for students by end of 2016,” Manoj Fadnis, president of ICAI, said. He added such a revamp is done once every ten years to adapt to changing industry requirements. The exercise was last carried out in 2006.
Once stakeholders’ inputs are taken into consideration, CA Regulations (1988) will be amended. The draft regulations will be sent to the government for approval and based on the approvals the new scheme along with a transition scheme for existing students will be put in place.
ICAI has also proposed to make the foundation examination (consisting of four papers) which can be taken after Class XII exams, partly descriptive, moving away from the current ‘multiple choice question’ format. The idea is to ensure that students passing the entrance are able to complete the final leg of the course as well. “We are making the entrance exam more robust and also testing writing skills at this stage,” Fadnis added. In addition, the institute also allows for direct entry to intermediate level for graduates meeting certain standards.
According to ICAI, the need for testing English language and business communication skills was borne out of dynamic changes in the economy. Similarly, the decision to drop theory papers on IT was to stress on quality practical training on technology. This is more feasible now with strong IT infrastructure in place.
In addition, to enable future CAs to keep pace with globalization, an ‘International taxation’ paper for 40 marks and a 100-mark ‘Financial Services and Capital Market’ paper are the proposed inclusions at the Final level.
The ICAI president has assured students that the proposal has to go through a process and will not immediately impact those appearing for 2016 exams. “The institute will also come out with a detailed transition scheme for those in existing curriculum, while implementing the new course structure,” Fadnis said.
The total membership base of ICAI is over 2.35 lakh chartered accountants and there are more than 8.5 lakh students pursuing the CA course currently.