The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has given an opt-out scheme for students who are either Coronavirus (COVID-19) positive or have family members who contracted COVID-19. However, students have now sought a postponement of the CA Exams scheduled between November 21 and December 14, 2020.
ICAI in a notification has said that students who are COVID-19 positive or with symptoms, containment zone or family members with COVID-19 can opt-out of the November 2020 CA exams even if online exam application has been submitted.
These students who opt-out will be allowed to give their CA examinations in the second half of January 2021/ first half of February 2021. Close to 0.5 million students appear for the CA Exams ever year.
Anil Kumar Thakur, a CA aspirant from Jaipur told Moneycontrol that the ICAI notification has created more confusion among students.
"Why not postpone the examinations for everyone. What is the use of letting some give the exam now and some giving it later? Also, what if the exam is not held in January and pushed to May? Won't students waste a year," he added.
Meanwhile, ICAI has clarified that the Supreme Court was also satisfied with the arrangements made by the body to conduct the examinations.
ICAI had told the apex court on November 4 that the CA exams cannot be conducted online.
How will the opt-out scheme work?
In case the student appears for some of the papers in a particular group and subsequently he/she opts out then he/she has to appear for all papers of the group in the next examination cycle.
However, in case a student appears for all papers in a group and subsequently opts out for other group, then the student has to write exams for only the other group in the next examination cycle.
Alternatively, students (under the COVID-19 conditions) will be allowed to opt out from November 2020 examination and appear in May 2021 examination at his/her option.
However, he/she will have to fill fresh examination form/apply afresh for May 2021 examination at the relevant time.
What do students want?
Students are seeking a uniform system for all candidates. The concern is that those who opt-out will be discriminated against and that ICAI should move the exam for all candidates.
"There is a lot of confusion whether the exams will happen as per schedule. ICAI should clarify whether there are any chances of postponement or opting out is the only option," said Pune-based Anika Mundra.
ICAI has already clarified that only COVID-19 affected students can opt out and not anyone else.
Mumbai's Prerna Srivastava is worried about the COVID-19 spread and how feasible it will be to maintain social distancing in the centres.
"Why can't the exams be postponed for everyone. Even if a student doesn't have COVID-19, there is always a risk of contracting it in the exam centre," she added.
Meanwhile, social media is abuzz with rumours that ICAI will releasing a notification pertaining to the CA 2020 November Exam on November 12. ICAI has not yet made any such announcements about the upcoming CA exams.