The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India is introducing a ‘New Scheme for Training and Education’ to help it develop a comprehensive curriculum that meets international standards. The Scheme will incorporate best practices from international accounting bodies as well as requirements under International Education Standards. “The suggestions that emerged from the meetings of Academic Group of CRET, Committee for Review of Education and Training and the views of eminent corporate heads are being considered,” CA Debashis Mitra (new president of ICAI) said to Education Times.
Aligned to NEP 2020
Mitra says that the focus of the previous Education Policy was ‘what to think,’ while the new Education Policy focuses on ‘how you think’. The 2020 National Education Policy (NEP), emphasizes multi-disciplinary education, conceptual understanding rather than rote learning, new teaching methods and pedagogical restructuring, the use of technology in teaching, and PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development) to assess students. The New Scheme will focus more on the development of higher-order skills in application, analysis, and interpretation, keeping all these aspects in mind. The multi-disciplinary case study at final level would be a special feature. This would allow students to integrate professional knowledge from different areas and analyze it in order to solve problems.
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Practical training and integration of IT
Mitra says that the Scheme will also be focusing more on practical training, and will provide self-paced online modules. The majority of subjects from the current scheme will be retained. However, subjects that were removed at the Final level will be offered as self-paced online courses. Mitra says that self-paced online modules are important in current economic and business conditions like risk management and forensic audit. They also introduce to digital ecosystem and transform.
These features, he believes will equip future chartered accountants to have the technical knowledge and professional skills necessary to excel at work. Furthermore, ethics and information technology will be integrated into every subject at the last level. They won’t just be a separate paper.
He says that one important aspect being considered is the creation of a single global curriculum to both domestic and foreign students in order to attract the best aspirants across the globe.
The Council of ICAI has approved the first draft of the Scheme and it is currently being submitted to Ministry. Following government approval, the draft Scheme will be put up for public exposure for 45 days seeking views of academicians/ students/stakeholders at large for further changes to be included as required.
Change in your role
Mitra emphasizes the fact that the curriculum will be revised after five years rather than the 10 years as per previous practice. “Conventionally, CRET is constituted within a time period of nine to ten years. The Revised Scheme of Education and Training generally launches within 3 years of the CRET’s constitution.
The December 2013 constitution of the last CRET was followed by the launch of the New Scheme of Education and Training on July 1, 2017. The fact that the current CRET was created at a later time (after seven years) is due in part to factors like the emergence and use of artificial intelligence, which required changes in chartered accountants’ expected skills; the need for global relevance of the curriculum, resulting from the launch of an international curriculum; increased emphasis on corporate governance, business ethics; and opening up new avenues to the profession such as carbon accounting, CSR auditing & auditing, and environmental reporting.
These factors have led to a shift in the role of chartered accountant to take on new responsibilities in a dynamic setting. A shift has occurred to strategic decision-making and entrepreneurial roles that provide value beyond financial reporting and recording.