The Institute of Chartered Accountant of India (ICAI) is ready to conduct its November 2020 CA exams, which starts from November 21. But students are unhappy. There are a lot of doubts, and many seem unclear ahead of the exams. #ICAIExamPostponement, #CAExams, #ICAIPostponeExams and many relevant hashtags are trending on social media, ever since ICAI released the admit card at the start of this month. Candidates are worried. Some of them claimed they had been allotted exam centres in COVID-19 containment zones; others are confused for no clarity for January 2021 attempt, as an ‘opted-out’ facility by the institute. With only a few days left for the chartered accountancy exams, there is yet to be a consensus between students and exam conducting body ICAI. If you are still unclear as to why #ICAIExamPostponement continues to trend on the internet, in this article, we will look into the detailed analysis and concerns that explains why students are so worried, ahead of the CA exams 2020.

CA Exam Centres

After ICAI activated the link to download CA Admit Card for November 2020 exams, candidates flood social media highlighting major goof-ups. Some students have complained that they have been allotted exam centres in COVID-19 containment zones, while others claim to get centres at an under-repair building, bakery, pre-schools and others. Some even stated that they were allotted centres in a different state altogether. ICAI later claimed that they have “already changed more than 20 examination centres.” But several candidates still alleged unresolved issues regarding the upcoming exams.

CA Exams and SOP

At the Supreme Court hearing, ICAI stated that it could not conduct the CA exam online as suggested by some candidates against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the court asked the institute to publish on its website the steps taken for students’ welfare amid the pandemic and disposed of the petition seeking a detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the examinees.

No Clarity for January/ February 2021 Attempt

In response to students’ response, ICAI came up with the opt-out facility. After immense pressure from the candidates, ICAI in a notification has said that students who are COVID-19 positive or with symptoms, containment zone or family members with the virus can opt-out of the November 2020 CA exams. They will be allowed to give their CA exams in the second half of January 2021 or first half of February 2021, the schedule of which is yet to be decided. The authorities further added that they would issue the detailed announcement in mid-December, 2020. However, the last date to fill in the application for the opted-out students is December 14, 2020.

No Isolated Room for Symptomatic Candidates

Candidates have also been demanding an isolated room for symptomatic students and transport arrangements. A group of students had filed a writ petition on the same. ICAI had informed the court and issued a statement claiming that it will not offer any separate room for candidates showing symptoms.

MHA Guidelines

Concerns for violating the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) were also raised. “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,” a student from Chennai was quoted saying in the report. “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 the isolation room, in case one is running temperature while entering examination centre,” another student voiced a similar concern.

Impact on May 2021 Attempt

If the alternate exams actually happen in January or February, 2021, as decided by ICAI, the results, as per the usual course, will be issued within the next 50 to 60 days, somewhere in mid-week of March or first half of April. This will also affect the May 2021, attempt, as the students and institute will be left with a lesser number of days to conduct the next session of CA examinations for all the courses.

These are the reasons that students want the institute to postpone the November 2020 CA exams, urging authorities to follow the required measures for students’ safety. ICAI claim to have opened more than 600 centres in 200 new cities, with “standby buffer centres in case of emergency to accommodate candidates in unforeseen situations.” The institute added to follow all the precautions needed and as guided by the government to conduct the exam in a safe environment. However, students concerns are yet to be addressed by ICAI.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 15, 2020 02:19 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website