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Open Letter to the President, ICAI

Dear President,

The substance of this letter is the state of examination and evaluation system of our Institute's qualifying exams. The recently declared result is just the tipping point, and not the substance of this letter. Let this communique not be misconstrued as demanding a revamp merely because the results have been pathetically low. This open letter would have probably been drafted still, even if the results threw out an extremely student friendly outcome of say 100% Pass.

Before I move on to present my points, I would like to state that I have been a firm believer of assertion that you get only what you deserve. A person who got "100 Marks" deserved that "100 Marks". And a student who got "0 Marks", deserved that as well. As someone who got both the above extremes during my academic days, I have maintained the above assertion with a certain degree of understanding and conviction.

I also would like to make it clear right at the outset that, I tend to digress a bit, and draw extreme analogies, and would be forthright to the point of being obscenely rude about the examination system that we have in place. None of which takes away the fact that I am extremely proud Chartered Accountant, who treasures this identity as high as anything one can possibly treasure.

The Rude Truth
Analogy One: A girl is gang raped by five men. The Justice System of the land sets out a earth shattering and ground breaking punishment of awarding a penalty of Rs.5000 or staying in prison for 30 Days. The victim has committed suicide by that time.

Analogy Two: A guy is sodomized brutually by five men. The Justice System of the land sets out an equally earth shattering and ground breaking punitive action of awarding a penalty of Rs.5000 or resting in prison for 30 Days. The victim has committed suicide by that time.

The ICAI sets a question paper filled up with more holes than content, splattered with too many errors and information presented is barely complete, and the student is forced to infer and assume lot of things to figure what the question is all about before starting his answer. The ICAI in all its generosity does moderation and gives him 10 marks extra in that paper. But thanks to that extremely harrowing experience, the student does not attend the next exam at all, not knowing that ICAI would give grace marks or do moderation. Net result, he or she has lost the results, due to non-attending the subsequent exams, on the understanding that "everything about the question was perfect, I didn't study properly", not knowing the sad truth.

Frankly I don't see any difference before the two analogies set above, and the fact that I have mentioned above on the examination and evaluation system. Except the fact that, in the analogies quoted above, the justice system and the accused are two different entities, but in the exam case, both are same.

Oscillation Between the Ridiculously Stupid and the Unbelievably Arrogant
The recurring statement by lot of senior professionals that the present day students wouldn't clear the exams if not for the moderation and grace marks, smacks of insensitivity and borders on the ridiculous. As far as I can see and am given to understand, thanks to my interaction with lot of senior members, in most cases, the moderation is primarily to cover up the inefficiencies of the paper setting process.

This by no means is to be understood as a demand for setting an easy paper. Please set a question paper with any degree of difficulty, provided it is within syllabus and complete in all respects. 

My questions on the paper setting process are these -
What exactly is the problem in preparing a Question Paper without any error? What exactly is the reason for such abject refusal to ensure quality in the paper setting process? What does it take to prepare a question paper without ridiculous typos? Do we really need an Einstein's intelligence to provide complete information in a question paper? Are our paper setters so snotty and ill advised, to oscillate between the ridiculous and the arrogant while setting question papers, setting stupid question papers by simply repeating the past exam questions, or vindictively scouting for new questions and including them in the paper without bothering to check if they are within the syllabus? Is the institute really engaging any Professionals for setting the question paper? Or are we trying to get things done on honorary basis without regarding and respecting the professional time and effort it requires to set a paper?

I am not telling that by having paid paper setters, the quality will automatically improve. But by not paying or paying peanuts, we get only monkeys. And with monkeys you can be one hundred percent sure of not getting any quality at all. By paying and engaging qualified experts we are atleast progressing towards professional way of doing things. And then there is this whole idea of accountability, which you cannot enforce if things happen on honorary basis.

Given the present state of affairs, the paper setting process is anything but professional. Two things that can be done to ensure certain degree of credibility to the entire paper setting process - One, List the panel of Paper Setters and their qualifications and credentials, and host the content on the website, so that the students can see who has set their papers. This exercise may be done after the exams are over so that the issue of confidentiality can be ensured. Two, Design a mechanism to receive feedback from the students / professionals on the question paper, so that, mistakes if any, can still be factored into before the valuation commences. (Couple of Years Back, I remember ICAI taking feedback of the students through an online link. I am yet to figure out why that good measure / effort was mercilessly discarded after just one exam.)

Valuation by People Without Any Values
Interaction with some of my fellow professional colleagues on the subject of pass percentages and present day pass outs have often left me with an instant dislike for the the member, when they say that too many CAs are coming out of the system, and it affects viability of the profession as a whole. The dislike extends to disgust once they share the fact that they also value papers for the CA exams.

With monsters such as them as valuers, what do you expect in the valuation process? One would pretty much conclude that a student can rarely expect justice from such valuers. 

At the other end of the spectrum, we have a system where an examiner rarely gets a chance to interact with fellow examiners. The present system of sending one set of answer books and the key solution to the valuer's place is totally out of place in a professional examination set up. The valuers are neither interacting with each other, nor are they given an opportunity of being heard while finalizing the key answers. The Head Examiner typically is unreachable (personal experience). 

Net Result - 
1. We have valuers who are worried about their own professional opportunity, and therefore would be more than happy to award no marks at the slightest of deviation. Let the step marks be damned. Having one CA less, is obviously better monetarily for these inefficient leechers.
2. We have valuers who have no idea at all on the paper they are valuing, and are thoroughly influenced only the key solution. They don't even bother to check if there is an alternative answer possible. More so if the Head Examiner has not communicated any alternative answer, the student giving one such alternative answer not present in the scheme of valuation is practically dead meat.
3. We have valuers who have valid alternative answers, but are not able to convey that to the unreachable Head Examiner, and even if they do reach, are not sure if the same has been conveyed to the other examiners.
4. We have answer sheets which are not fully valued, or even valued as per the scheme of valuation of being given. (Countless instances of students getting the copies of their answer sheets only to find that their paper is not fully valued)

What can be done -
Atleast have a zonal / regional meeting of all the paper valuers, and discuss the scheme of valuation thoroughly, take the inputs of various valuers, and then finalize the main key solution. Please don't tell us that it is an expensive affair. Nothing is more expensive than the life of the students involved. We are all aware how much the Council treasures its "International" and "Regional" and "National Conferences", for practically having nothing productive on half such conferences. An back of the envelope calculation, tells me that at the max, the CA Institute would end up spending around Rs.6.5 Crores per annum for organizing the above meeting. Peanuts compared to what the Institute Charges from the student. And roughly half the amount of fees collected for the IPCC and Final Exams.

Sharing of Key Solution and Scheme of Valuation
And the last thing that is really required is sharing of the key answers with the students "after" the exams, but before the results are out. A robust and an efficient examination system will not be scared of sharing the above. The very fact that ICAI has repeatedly stonewalled this proposal conveys the sad truth - that ICAI is totally unsure of its own examination and evaluation system. 

With growing social and student activism, and greater legal awareness among all and sundries, if the ICAI does not wake up to the reality, and stops acting like high handed bureaucrats, the reputation of the entire professional would be tarnished. With growing number of cases being filed against the ICAI by the Students, and the consistency with which students are winning those cases, and how every year the revaluation and reverification and such cases are resulting in hundreds of students clearing the exams, I don't think ICAI can really sleep any more on these issues.

Admittedly there are other pressing work. But this no less important. Admittedly, these may not immediately translate into overall improvement in credibility or sounds good or fits as "Accomplishments" against the profiles of the Council members, but these changes would resonate positively in the long run in the minds of students and hearts of future professionals. 

Conclusion
As I draw close to a rather long open letter, I would like to once again highlight the fact that I am not against "Tough" Question Papers. I am not disgusted at the pathetic result this time around. This result is just a tipping point. And I hold our outdated and inefficient examination system with such contempt reserved for the most obnoxious thing ever to have found on this earth.

Any blatant refusal to acknowledge the simple fact that our present examination system is rotten and crappy at worst, and inefficient and ridiculous at best, reeks of arrogance which this profession and institute can do without. Moderation and grace marks can at best be regarded as covering the stinking act, and not as an act of generosity of the decision makers.

Act. Decisively. Now.

G Saimukundhan

[Click Here for the Actual Mail Sent to the ICAI President and President Elect]

Comments

vikram vikas said…
rightly said sir !!
the final results r really pathetic .. If anybody questions the pass % the institute comes out with an answer that they dont fix the pass % and oly those students who had worked hard will be able to clear the exams.. I dont think oly 3% of the students would have worked hard and others students just for "nam ke vas" have written the exams.. failing the students to meet the demand and supply of CA's is no where a professional attitude .. -_-
G Saimukundhan said…
Dear Vikram,

I still don't believe the assertion that ICAI fixes pass percentage. Having been part of the evaluation system, I can say this with lot of confidence. There are certain individuals who would like to have less number of CAs passing out.

Again the post is not about the low percentage result, but the inconsistency and flaws in the evaluation system. Having seen some of the answer sheets, I can say with certain degree of confidence that the actual pass percentage without any moderation could be even lower.
Arun Karthik said…
Finally a person with sensibility sensitivity and above all no hypocrisy. Thank u sai sir
Shilpa Singh said…
Good piece of letter.. but I'm sure as hell that the institute has a well in hand diplomatic unsatisfactory answer prepared for this..
Ravi Rajkumar said…
Dear sai sir,

What you said in this letter is 100% true. In nov 2012 exam, my sfm paper they have validated answer but no marks awarded near about for 25 Marks. My answer and institute suggested answers tallies and fully correct . I failed in 20 Marks. I took this issue to my teacher but he said we can't do anything. The bad news is, i still didn't cleared first group.
I come to know then, the valuer of the paper doesn't know anything about sfm. He got sticked with the key answers and correcting papers.
And institute expecting 100% knowledge from students is stupidness.
I request institute not to give key answers instead appoint valuers who knows the subject matter.so that correction will be good.

Lawyers have filed case on 31st dec 2013 stating that " They should be allowed to sign Tax audit cases " by giving reason that
1. CA's are very much less in society. So allow us to sign tax audit cases to increase revenue to government.

Definitely institute have come acrossed this issue. But then they have releasing this much low result is undigestable.

I request you sai sir to forward this letter also to next upcoming president. So that atleast from next time this things will not happen. And please forward us what the president has replied to your letter.

Thanks
R.Rajkumar
Lakshay Patney said…
Sir, out of 100 on an average we can assume 20%-25% students were not "very well prepared", what about the rest? We students, after spending more than 4 years in this profession, would we dare not prepare well? This result is nothing but a joke. In my batch of Orientation, we were told the results were according to the market demand. If market demand is your only criteria for declaring a person a CA then why not do a percentile system. Is the institute serious when it tells you that only 3 students out 100 managed to write their papers and score 50%. This is hilarious. This country is going nowhere and this profession also doesn't have a bright future, if these practices are followed.
Anonymous said…
as rightly pointed out sir! dey expect us to answer in 3hrs, n dey demself tak more den 3month to reply so called question paper's..
Neeraj said…
Well said G.S. This happens in almost every other examination system, leave alone the CA exams. The higher the level of expertise the greater the chances of having obscure set of rules and regulations.

Moreover, since very few even reach that level it is rather difficult to put pressure on such authorities with sheer number.

We have countless examples where students have taken extreme measures like suicide only to find out by their family members that the results declared were faulty.

One thing which I think should be kept in mind by all the students is -it is not the end of the world if they don't clear the exam on the first attempt. Life is more important than any paper-pencil exam. If your attempt fails then stay calm and try again. You will eventually succeed.
This comment has been removed by the author.
All said and done, one thing that i think is completely ignored is the quality of the education and the students passing out. Barring the quality of study material provided by the institute, the level is continuously downgraded (substituted by the countless instances i have personally faced, explaining simple journal entries to qualified professionals). The other reason unofficially adopted by THE institute for diminishing the result, i believe that this trend would push the students away from the practical approach towards learning which is in fact very disturbing as it would further degrade esteem associated with the professional degree. This is in fact a vicious circle from which only an "abhimanyu" may show the way out. Despite the supposedly "TOUGH QUES", the level of practical understanding is missing in students which i think is more worrisome than the number of paasouts.
G Saimukundhan said…
Dear Vishesh,

The quality of passouts, the focus of students on rote learning, refusal to "understand", isn't nothing much to cheer about. And to that extent, the students are to be blamed.

The practical understanding aspect is a tricky part. I am not convinced if the students can be squarely blamed for the same. Does an Average CA's Office provide enough opportunities to have a wide knowledge and understanding? The answer is a resounding no. This being the case, the whole practical knowledge / understanding is pretty much reduced to imagination.

Thanks for your comment!
GSM
G Saimukundhan said…
Dear Neeraj,

Thats a very valid point. The extreme steps which many students are taking presents a rather sorry state of affairs on the education front. Let us hope that our education and social system gives not just technical knowledge, but also the strength and ability to live confidently.

Cheers!
GSM
Anonymous said…
Institute is spoiling it's reputation.. Here is the live happening http://m.timesofindia.com/city/chennai/Slump-in-CA-pass-rate-raises-queries-on-errors/articleshow/28917558.cms
G Saimukundhan said…
Dear Lakshay and Ravi Rajkumar,

The assertion by the ICAI that students' didn't prepare properly is partially true. I have no doubts about it. You have to look at the quality of answers to really understand where most of them stand.

Having said that, poor performance is only part of the story. The bigger part of the shambolic evaluation system. The extent to which many students feel cheated when get their answer sheet copies (mostly a week before the next exams), would make you pity their life. Let's hope some sanity prevails.

GSM
joelzzz said…
Dear Sir,
Can you elaborate on the point you made about students filing cases on ICAI? On what basis?
Also open book exams for tax & law is a good move?
Has the ICAI president replied to your letter yet? If so could you post the same?
thanks
Joel
Anonymous said…
Shame on Institute.. Shame
Anonymous said…
if near about 30 students works hard to get clear in CPT exam and ICAI admits this and they got cleared then only 3 of them will work hard in CA Final exams...??????
RAMESH JAIN said…
When one of mine dear was thinking to do CA,an experienced teacher suggested him to prepare for Civil Services in spite of CA.
I asked him about the reason he told that outcome of result in comparing to both can be evaluated.
Now ICAI is going in that direction by reducing passing results.
A debate should be started weather country needs the CA's are not.
Ramesh Jain
Nirdesh Singh said…
If they want to fulfill their ambitions of continuosly provide these type of results then they should cut the training period to 1-1.5 years and allow us to join any mnc in finanace field or any other field of our choice. They provide us this facility in last year under the name of"Industrial Training". Now tell me is it the correct time to do the same at this stage when we have to prepare ourselves for our exams...........God help them with their illogical rules
Anonymous said…
Sai, while I agree with some of your points, Let's ask the people who are commenting to agree not to disrespect Institute reputation on public forum.. Please make this a closed group discussion as any human with internet access can read this, and being members, we don't like our own institute getting a bad name from unknown public... Give it a thought..
G Saimukundhan said…
Dear Ramesh Jain,

I still believe the outcome for the most parts can be evaluated pretty much correctly. I have got lot of extreme marks in my CA Exams (though I never failed in these Exams). Never even once I got what I didn't expect. In fact in my final level, the overall final marks were within two marks of what I had estimated.

I still believe in the above in most cases. But then this is my view based on my experience. But that still doesn't take away the shambolic evaluation system that we have place right now.

GSM
G Saimukundhan said…
Dear Joel,

The cases filed pertains to obtaining copies of answer sheet hitherto refused by the Institute. The case dragged for three four years, before finally being settled by the Supreme Court last year IIRC. Am not able to recollect the student's name. But I think googling with the right words would pretty much throw the results.

In one of the case, the student had infact lost on technical grounds of belated filing or something like that(and not because his argument was wrong).

No replies as of now. And none expected. As expected.

GSM
G Saimukundhan said…
Dear Anonymous Five (Friday, January 17, 2014 at 7:39:00 PM GMT+5:30),

I respect your concern. I was pretty much pondering on these lines for one full day before I published this post (which was in a draft mode for almost an year and a half). This blog is rarely visited by lot of people. ICAI is pretty much being roasted in all public forum. Mostly people who visit here for this post are the ones who already know the status. Hence, I decided to go ahead.

This post is the final outcome after privately communicating these issues to couple of Senior Members and Council Members. They say send an email detailing the issue, and still you don't any response. Opaqueness in the system has pretty much discredited the professional for sometime now. I seriously didn't know what else one has to do to get the message across, except by probably creating some kind external pressure in this form.

Again, I do understand your concern. But, in this case, I believe this is the right thing to do.

Thanks for commenting!
GSM
G Saimukundhan said…
Dear Nirdesh,

I can quote lot of examples who have cleared their exams by opting for Industrial Training. Couple of them have scored ranks as well. I had a girl in my batch who did that. Industrial training does not rob your preparation time. Atleast that's what I have seen and hence that's what I believe.

GSM
A wonderful piece of document but will it make the office bearers and president of ICAI to take note of this letter. High stakes are involved with the officials of ICAI officials. It is not mudslinging but a cold truth. An example, Rs8/- per paper for non-CA compared to Rs 40/- per CA for paper valuation, Naturally quality is compromised.

Keep it up.

Regards,
R.Sathya Moorthy / 09790842773 .
Saurabh Lalwani said…
Our learning system is such so as to test our memory and not our understanding..I don't understand that when we carry 32gb of memory thru our phone..what good ICAI finds in testing sheer memory of professionals like CAs.
Anonymous said…
Dear Sir,

Though your message is clear and raises a genuine concern, please note that not all those who read this are mature enough to understand it in the right sense.
Going by the comments,I can see that this post has only deepened the misconceptions(Institute fixes the pass percentage,it makes students fail just to meet "demand-supply", etc.) of a few. Even students who fail to clear their exams solely due to their lack of preparation go about blaming the institute and the "inefficient" valuators, which is absolutely unfair. This has given them yet another opportunity to do so!!
Like someone has commented, probably such issues should not be dealt with in a public forum, letting down the Institute, which has, nevertheless, been producing quality CAs over the years...
Anonymous said…
We need a revolution in this system otherwise more and more people will suffer every time. When we reach to final most of us are enough matured to understand the demand and value of ca final but this shit kind of result demoralised us as well as set our future in no where, we are fail to get what we deserve after such hard work. Please for god sake some body take a stand and change this system. Many of my friend after appearing for number of attemptsin c final had left ca course and right now their life is become not less than a hell. We got many rape cases in india but now ICAI is doing a which is not less than a rape because in both cases after that incident suffer's life become hell. Please icia member and all other who can change the system please do some I don't want to be the sufferer I had alrwady suffered in Nov13 term. Please don't repeat such mistake again I have lot of responsibility and expectation from my family which I have to fullfill which I had not yet fullfilled due my study..
Abu Ahmed said…
Sir you had posted this letter it's very nice too see this but please take some step to change this system. If you need any kind of contribution we are ready for anything to give to change the system. And I hope all the other sufferer must also the same reply..
Abu Ahmed said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
G Saimukundhan said…
Dear Mr.Sathya Moorthy Rajam,

I am not aware if Non CAs are paid any less per paper valued. But the valuation fee per paper is pretty handsome when compared what people typically get for valuing University Exam papers. Last time I checked, it was around Rs.70 per Paper (as against Rs.15 or Rs.20 per University Exam Paper).

I would still believe it is not enough to attract good people to spend their professional time. Having said that, we have scores of valuers who do it out genuine concern for the CA Student, and do total justice their task, taking utmost precaution to ensure student is rewarded at the best for whatever he has written.

I am not too hopeful of getting any response. A typical feature of any opaque system - Ignorance is the best way of avoiding a problem or confrontation. I just hope over a period of time, these issues are taken up by the authorities concerned.

Thanks for your comment.
GSM
G Saimukundhan said…
Dear Abu Ahmed,

I can at best highlight the issue. But the solution requires the authorities concerned to act. What surprises me is the refusal of the students to join hands and make a representation. It is far more effective than some obscure CA highlighting through blogposts. At best they would acknowledge the receipt of the mail. At worst, I would be accused of washing dirty laundry in public. The students do it, and more frequently, and across the nation, you are pretty much staring at the solution. Else, we all just move on.

GSM
G Saimukundhan said…
Dear Anonymous (Again!)(Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 1:04:00 AM GMT+5:30),

How can someone live in hell just because he or she has not completed CA? In the end, CA is just a qualification, that would ensure an immediate recognition. Haven't we all seen countless instances of people without any great educational background doing great in their life? Admittedly, the examination system is pathetic, and it does affect the students.

But I still cannot accept if life has become hell for people who have not completed CA. I would request you not to worry too much about this result, and go about preparing normally. You would pretty much clear the exams. All the very best.

Cheers
GSM
G Saimukundhan said…
Dear Anonymous (Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 12:39:00 AM GMT+5:30),

Misconceptions are bound to happen as long as we have an opaque system. As I had responded earlier, this post was done after quite a lot of deliberations. Requesting a more transparent system and robust evaluation model is being made atleast for the past eleven years (to my knowledge). Through written submissions, mails, in person requests etc. Eleven years! And still the system continues the way it has always continued.

GSM
swathi gopi said…
Sir,
First of all.I Thankyou from the bottom of my heart for doing, what i was being provoked to do..
This was what Kirti Agrawal, secretary of the Nagpur branch of the western region of ICAI, said to the Times of India, "CA is one of the toughest exams. The dummy article-ship, sheer reading without understanding to get through the exams, over dependence on private coaching with lack of practical approach to solutions, have scaled down the results. Students need to focus on how to learn and acquire knowledge rather than just clearing the exam."

Something that struck me in their statement above is that when they blame students for doing dummy artcleship, why do they not care to think that it is because somewhere some Chartered Accountant agrees to provide Dummy articleship in return of a lumpsum amount, that students get provoked to resort to the same. So instead of blaming the students first, Why dont ICAI take measures to expel such unethical CAs from the CA fraternity????
And looks like as if they reward us with extra marks if we write some practical examples and quote real life audting examples of our articleship period in the Auditing paper, inspite of the same not falling within the purview of their so called 'Key answers'and yet being something apt to be quoted on the context of that question. Never!!! Key ke sivaay aur kuch dekhte bhi honge kye ye log??
Hoping that our Honourable President of ICAI would have received the open letter by now and hoping further that he would show some courtesy in posting a reply to the same....
Regards,
an Aam CA Student .
G Saimukundhan said…
Dear Swathi,

Fair point. Frankly, even I never thought of the same. Why blame the student alone for Dummy Articleship? Without the concurrence of the CA it is never possible at all!

On a relatively more sober note, ICAI has expelled lot of CAs for following unethical practices. I am not sure if there are many professional institutes which has done that. Atleast to that extent, ICAI has a relatively better track record.

And btw, the Open Letter, has since been mailed to the people concerned after including a few more points. It would have reached them (I didn't get any Mailer Daemon Message, yet).

Cheers!
GSM
swathi gopi said…
Thankyou Sir,

Haha.. good that your mails haven't bounced as yet. And since our descriptive exam papers are usually valued within a span of 60 days, just as fast as or objective OMR answer sheets of CPT are valued, we can expect a speedy reply for your mails too right ? I just hope they wouldn't believe in 'ignorance is bliss' all of a sudden!.. Anyways, do keep us updated sir, and ya do check up your spam mails too... can't say where gmail would prefer to categorise them to. :)
Ganesh Kumar said…
Dear sir,

Is it possible to value the Answer sheet once again with any other officials of other institutions..?

Let see the results.. 3% may turns to 33%.

Regards
ganesh
Anurag said…
http://poweryourpreparation.blogspot.in/2014/01/my-take-on-open-letter-to-president-icai.html
time&moneygirl said…
I do honestly believe at an individual level, the student has to only be bothered about the syllabus and his preparation and performance. For a student, the pass percentage should be meaningless and none of his concern. But as a CA, I am sure we all agree, variances should be explained. Does the ICAI mean to say that a drop from 13% to 3% pass percentages is purely because of individual students lack of efforts? Like any other institution, a professional body should be held responsible for the development of the profession even at the student level. If the pass percentages are dropping, what has the ICAI done to that effect? You cannot set a super tough November paper and an easy May paper The ICAI charges a whopping $400 for foreign exam centers, no foreign chapter is even equipped with any RTP /Suggested answers! It is not some fashion to be called a low-pass percentage course and hence, very tough. Honestly medicine and CFA are far more recognized,worthy and far far more difficult than CA to clear but the institution doesn't run its show by regulating the pass percentages and building stories around explain it. Also, an observation is most toppers these days are from the North. How is that possible? Some ICAI officials have their own institutes and others will blame coaching centers for poor performance. AICPA, ICAEW are comparable institutes, I don't see a single accounting body that has unprofessional presidents who blame coaching centers for their performances. Someone has to evaluate ICAI as an educational institution and CA as global degree. I will take explanations that students didnt perform well and all that is a students' self evaluation. Why preach standard costing /auditing and consistency principle and run an institution that show so consistency. Why would a global employer employ an Indian CA if he cannot rely on the difficulty level/testing quality within 5 year frame? How would I know if this candidate genuinely cracked CA when it was at 3% pass rate difficulty or at a 15% pass rate difficulty. So now the quality of CA's have gone up since pass percentages are tighter - so the ICAI admits it was rolling out lesser quality CAs in the recent past??


It isn't enough to just reflect on the results. Some action has to be taken to re-consider the quality of the exam and evaluation -key. We are talking about the lives of several families, some who are even depending on the student's results.
Soumya Bhatia said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shrek said…
Very very true sir, I do believe that than 3% students have worked hard to Write these exams and do deserve to pass as well, again papers may be tough and they should be.. But please mark us fairly.. As it it's extremely frustrating to loose out on the results by small margins after making a huge effort in tough papers to really try and answer them!
G Saimukundhan said…
Dear Anurag,

I never expected my blog to create any stir, leave alone someone leaving a comment. I certainly didn't expect someone to counter it or respond to it with another blog. A simple comment would have pretty much solved the purpose.

In any case, first things first, I am amused that you find my blogpost as aggressively sensational.

I agree on your following observations -
a. Passing CA Exams are not a student's birth right. They are to work towards it.
b. Many students resort to rote learning, which is pretty disgraceful.
c. Many students "do" behave like a James Bond.
d. Many CAs are taking up jobs with a salary as low as Rs.20 k per month.
e. Tougher the Examination Process, Higher the Respect for the Student Qualifying Those Exams.

I thoroughly appreciate the fact that you have created the country's first CA Exclusive Job Portal. (contd....)
G Saimukundhan said…
(Contd....)

1. Diamonds are Diamonds, not because only few people can afford (Result), but because they are rare to find, and hence regarded as precious(Cause). This is Basic Economics. This does not require great intellectual largess to understand.

2. Simple and free availability is what makes Salt dirt cheap. Would you be okay with artificial and farcial hoarding of salt, to increase its value?

3. A tough examination process, by any stretch of imagination cannot include a "Faulty" and "Erroneous" Examination Process. I never clamoured for any easy paper. All I requested and desired was a fool proof examination system, where a student is objectively rewarded for what he has written.

4. Why do you want to compare every CA with an IIT or IIM Graduate? Some muff clearing CA after twenty attempts at the age of 40 and an IIT Graduate clearing at the age of 21 or an IIM Graduate clearing at the age of 24 are not the same. If you want to compare IITs / IIMs, please compare them only with the top 100 odd guys from the CA. None of the top 100 fellows go for the paltry salary that you have mentioned. They are still among the most sought after.

5. Even when the results were 25% or 30% people were shouting. Not because people failed. But because their papers were not valued properly. Every exams has its share of students who feel cheated. In some cases, unjustly. In some cases, justly.

6. Every CA does not win hands down when compared to every single MBA on technical knowledge. Our examination process is pathetically old fashioned and promotes rote learning, and there is absolutely no guarantee that the passouts will automatically qualify as having exceptional knowledge.

7. As long as it is the students' mistakes, your point is fair. They have to analyse and reappear. What if it is not the student's mistake? A student securing all India Rank at IPCC Level, getting ridiculous 8 Marks in ISCA or 28 Marks in Auditing. Is it believable?
(Contd....)
G Saimukundhan said…
8. Why should reading ET / Business Line be a benchmark of an ideal student? You have fair share of students who do update themselves through ET or any other means. At the end of the day, it does not matter whether are updating on every current affairs or not. As long as the students are updated on the matters that relate to their field, it is absolutely fine. Many students do keep track of the developments in Corporate Laws / Securities Laws / Taxation Laws etc, none of which appears in detail in any of the leading Business Magazines.

9. Ambiguous questions are okay as long as they are within tolerable limits. You can't have a question which misses out on "facts". You can't ask a question such as "Compute Net Profit Ratio" without giving Sales, and expect students to assume "Sales". You can't expect students to determine "Expected Value" without giving the corresponding probabilities. These questions do not "qualify as ambiguous", but atrocious. No corporate finance problems in real world is beset with ambiguity to the with a three hour timing running out in the background.

10. Having been an examiner, I am aware of the process. I highlighted this fact pretty much in my blogpost. The issue is not about the "Defined Process". But the adherence to them. Till one year back, Checkers were engaged by the Examiner himself. I am pretty sure you must be aware of it. Sadly, many examiners didn't even bother to actually engage a checker. They pocketed that sum by having their own wife / friend sign the voucher, without actually checking. If checker had done his duty, you will not find any "Unvalued Answers" / "Totalling Mistakes" in the answer sheets.

11. I loved your James Bond analogy. Seriously. It is absolutely true. Some of them behave in pretty snotty way as well. But does that justify a stupid and flawed evaluation process? Nopes!

12. If students are circulating the blog in Whatsapp, what am I to do? They probably feel someone has spoken on their behalf. Instead of studying? Boss, they have come to "realize" that studying isn't really enough.

Hope I have made my points clear.
GSM
Sagar gaur said…
Just one question sir..
I requested for the certified copy of ISCA May,13. I got 25 marks on the paper but found 32 marks in the marksheet. This means there is something up and down done by ICAI at its own after complete valuation by valuers. Second evidence is the result of Nov,2012 around 22% compared to this time 3.11%.
Sagar gaur said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shrenik Baid said…
Very well said. By the way, I may also highlight that Entry in to CA couse is comparative easy. So we need to have better evaluation system for those entrants who may not have an appetite for CA & can better focus on something else. Instead of realising it after 4 years....but then it's too late for them to exit. This will also reflect true passing %.
I would like to thank you for your at most & esteemed effort for changing the system.... well said sir,your substantiation for "why the system needs to be demolished & reconstructed" was Fantabulous....

By Prajeesh Rajendra Prasad (i was your student -2011 feb to july)
A person with sensibility sensitivity and above all, You only Sir, I am Proud of You lot, as your student.Thank you sir, Thank you...........



Nitin Jain said…
With all due respect to the members, it's rubbish to question the quality of recent batches of passed out candidates. They are much better than the earlier batches of Chartered accountants. There is good demand for CA's in organisations who respect and understand the requirement of quality in their workforce. It's true that transparency is the order of the day and everyone is right in demanding it in ICAI's structure but we just can't keep blaming the institute. Always remember it's the institute which has made you before making harsh comments over it. Proud to be a CA
Saimukundhan sir,

I believed your assertion about ICAI not fixing the pass percentage. Recently, in the FAQ section of ICAI website, I came across the fact that ICAI indeed fixes pass percentage.

I am using the exact wordings used in that link

" In terms of Regulation 39(2) of the CA Regulations 1988, the Council of the Institute may, in its discretion, revise the marks obtained by all the candidates or a section of candidates in any particular paper or papers or in the aggregate in such manner as may be considered necessary, for maintaining the pass percentage provided in the regulations. The term “section” used in the above mentioned Regulation refers to the category of the candidates whose answer papers are valued by an examiner and such other category of candidates as may be specified by the Council. Marks awarded on the answer books are the marks given by the examiner, based on the actual performance of the candidate. Marks given on the mark sheet include marks awarded in terms of Regulation 39(2) mentioned above."

Link Reference : http://icaiexam.icai.org/inspection/faq_cc.php

Refer Point 9 in the above link.
Rajput Jain said…
Thanks for share and nice helpful information ..............

chartered accountant in India
Aayushi Gupta said…
Did the president Reply? Please post that too if possible.
if u can reply one thing then i will really thankful to you sir...
can i take action against icai if there is revision in mark...
for my time loss as i will get verificqation result after 1 month
for my stress for my money

i just want to take legal action against icai can i do so?
if i did wrong i will be punished for 6 month then why not ICAI
SUMIT BAREJA said…
icai is ruining the carrier of students.
Many students commit suicide just because of icai, These should be a grading system rather than a numeric or pass percentage.
what is the use of spending life to earn just a certificate as in real life this degree is just a gateway of first entrnace
sampath s said…
You being a CA and other like minded CA raise ur voice in ICAI and take a legal route for helping future CA aspirants.does this have no solution!!
sampath s said…
You being a CA and other like minded CA raise ur voice in ICAI and take a legal route for helping future CA aspirants.does this have no solution!!
Kanuj Batra said…
Dear G Saimukundhan,
The ICAI institute is primitive, outdated and filled with bunch of idiots. I have asked for certified copies of law, coat and itsm (ipcc) and after going through these only one thing is proved in real life silencer (movie 3 idiots) is winning and rancho is failing. Complete non sense can be observed, only words which match with suggested answer are allotted marks.They only want rote learning. My cousin is IT engineer from Delhi Technical University ranking in top 10 engineering colleges in india, after examining my IT exam paper he concluded this the institute examiner is idiot, dont know any thing about it, pagal and gadhe. The same happed in law, sm and cost.
If I have not asked for certified i would have considered my self to lacking some where, but now i know ICAI is the one who is to be blamed. THEY HAVE NO RIGHT DISTURB SELF CONFIDENCE OF ANY STUDENT.
AT LAST THERE IS SO MUCH TO SAY ABOUT THEIR BLUNDER, BUT END WITH ONLY ONE THING.

THEIR IS NO SHORTAGE OF TALENT THEIR OF IS SHORTAGE OF TALENT THAT CAN RECOGNIZE TALENT.
Sir,
i want o know, why maximum people got 40 marks in ITSM?
Is there any system related to this?
BIG CANVAS said…
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Sumit Seth said…
There has been this debate going on about which is the best CA Institute. We all know that there are some parameters which we can use in order to establish the fact that which is the best coaching institute.
Sumit Seth said…
There has been this debate going on about which is the best CA Institute. We all know that there are some parameters which we can use in order to establish the fact that which is the best coaching institute.

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