Education Scheme 2021: In the light of Mr. Jafar’s interest
ICAP recently announced Education Scheme 2021, which had everyone talking for multiple reasons. The CA stakeholders, who never cared about the council of ICAP or its members, are now discussing Mr. Jafar Husain like youth started discussing Prime Minister Imran Khan in the past few years. Some are possessively defending him and the scheme, while others are leaving no stone unturned to defame him.
Mr. Jafar Husain, who is President ICAP, is the sole receiver of all the criticism because of his association with a reputable RAET. He became a topic of discussion as soon as the scheme was announced. Not only did people severely criticize him for fanning his interest, but he and his institute also became a subject to multiple memes on social media.
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Meanwhile, no one is talking about “Education and Training Committee” and other council members, who designed and announced the whole scheme, even after two paged message at the beginning, by Chairman of the committee.
Interestingly, from the scheme comprising of 22 pages, only one clause piqued everyone’s interest and caused an uproar. The clause is "Mandatory attendance with RAETs for CAF students."
With other clauses being less significant in comparison, everyone is reading the whole scheme in the light of this one point only. Let’s discuss some misunderstood aspects here:
Mr. Jafar’s contribution to policymaking:
Before pointing fingers at Mr. Jafar, we should clearly understand the point that even though he is president ICAP, he doesn't have the rights to form a policy in isolation. Policymaking is not a one-person project; it involves multiple individuals.
The clauses are not merely put forward and approved. The process involves Education and Training Committee (ETCOM) consisting of 18 members, who conduct surveys, do extensive research, and even after that, the points are discussed heavily before they are incorporated into the scheme.
The scheme is then approved by the council containing 19 other members, who are elected by votes and some appointed by Federal government. After that, the scheme should be approved by the Federal Government before it is implemented.
Could he have influenced decision making?
President is not a full-time sitting position in ICAP. Therefore no council member fear nor is in the undue influence of the president. He got elected in North council with highest votes. Council also contains many senior partners of big four as well as other firms, and they voted for him considering his services. Such senior member couldn’t be played around by one man, even though he is president.
Hence, criticizing Mr. Jafar Hussain in any way is rather immature on stakeholder’s end. There is a high chance that he wasn’t even brains behind that particular clause.
Moreover, when you are the custodian of trust of thousands of stakeholders, you cannot take biased decisions. In this case, Mr. Jafar has a fiduciary duty to prioritize the interest of institute and students over his personal benefit. Being educationist and seeing many schemes in his life as a Principal of very first RAET, he surely knows the weaknesses in previous study plans and his input eliminated many shortcomings in the system.
His institute, till date, remains one of the quality education providers across Pakistan. President or no president, his institute has a quality that other RAETs are still struggling to match or compete with. A few more students wouldn’t make as much difference.
Does the policy benefit his institute or RAETs as a whole?
Yes, it does to some extent but not as much as we are highlighting it.
The reasons being:
1: Institutes are nearly at breakeven at CAF level and at a loss in CFAP due to high cost of teachers. They derive their profits from AFC, and in the new scheme, attendance or registration is still not mandatory at PRC (that is replacement of AFC). It could have been made mandatory, had it been in the interest of institutes solely.
2: Mandatory attendance is only for first attempters, and most of the students already enrolled in the institutes for their first attempts.
3: Policy doesn’t state anywhere that registration with "one particular RAET" is mandatory. If someone has issues, they can very well opt to register with other institutes. Because not all the owners are president of ICAP.
4: Students with multiple attempts still have a choice to decide the medium of their study. They can study online, go for self-study or register with any institute as per their liking.
5: If we divide the previously unregistered students over multiple RAETs, the increase would be rather insignificant, as there were very few students who never joined any RAET.
6: Taking tests of PRC at any institute with proper facilities is not only limited to RAETs. Anyone can register his setup with ICAP for conducting computer-based exam (CBE). If he had wished, he might have discouraged institutes other than RAETs.
Qualifying Assessment test:
Where a few students would join the net with mandatory attendance, QAT will pull out many. The ones who joined CA even after having a low percentage and paid hefty dues without any positive results would no longer be part of the profession. It benefited RAETs earlier, as they only collected their funds from such students, multiple times. The number was way more than the unregistered students.
How does the mandatory attendance clause benefit students:
Attendance is still not mandatory at PRC level. Most of the students are usually at the right track when they join in. However, CAF level is where students start taking wrong decisions, and this is the stage where they end up wasting all their efforts. With subject groups and registration, such wrong decisions will at least be monitored, and students would be saved from much disappointment.
A very few students, who didn't register because of financial or any other issues can apply for financial assistance, and RAETs are generous when it comes to scholarships. QAT will filter the students, and deserving ones will get the benefit. It would also save many students from making wrong decisions to self-study a relatively conceptual subject, as they ended up failing anyway.
The main aim of the new scheme is to promote serious students and filter non-serious students at an early phase of studies, instead of wasting his 5 to 6 years and then those students call for dharna against ICAP.
All in all, the policy benefits the students more than it helps a particular individual or any institute. Hopefully, the article clears some misconceptions, and the critiques would now stop judging and evaluating Mr. Jafar’s stance.