The hopes of thousands of Indian students who wanted to pursue a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) course in India have been dashed.
The Delhi High Court has dismissed the US-based CFA Institutes petition against the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) the technical education regulation body that it should be allowed to operate in India.
The CFA Institute had already ceased operations in India by not registering fresh candidates for its Level One course in September, and also by holding its December 2007 examinations abroad. However, it still has around 10,500 Indian students at three levels.
Consequently, the thousands of first- and second-level students (comparable to first year and second year) will now have to go abroad to pursue the CFA course if they still wish to do so. This would mean an additional expense of thousands of dollars besides heartburn and anxiety.
The CFA Institute has been running the course in India since 1995. The cost of the CFA programme, on an average, works out to be $3000 including registration, course material and examination costs. The CFA programme is in huge demand across the world. The institute has over 76,000 CFAs as members.
In May this year, the CFA Institute was challenged by the ICFAI, through its University in Tripura, when the latter moved the Guwahati High Court, alleging that the US-based institute was marketing the CFA programme in India without obtaining AICTE permission.
The Guwahati High Court had directed the AICTE to determine whether the CFA Institute must seek approval for the CFA programme from the AICTE.
The CFA Institute, however, had argued that it does not need an AICTE clearance to operate in India, as it neither offers a degree or diploma in CFA nor is it running an institute or university in the country.
It reasoned that it is a professional association that offers a designation or a certification.
When contacted, a CFA spokesperson said: We are disapointed with today's decision. We feel that this ruling goes against the best interests of Indian investment professionals, employers and the Indian investing community. Once we receive the court's written opinion, well review it carefuly to evaluate our position and determine our future course of action.
V R Shankara, Registrar, IU Tripura, said: ICFAI Tripura is of the opinion that the court judgment upholds the AICTE regulations applicable to all foreign universities and educational institutions operating in India or wish to operate in India.
He added that the AICTE regulations are primarily intended to protect the interest of the Indian students from being exploited by unauthorised and unaccredited foreign institutions through their operation in India.
Under AICTE rules, approval is mandatory for any institution offering technical education programmes in engineering and technology, management, computer applications, architecture and town planning, pharmacy, hotel management and catering technology, applied arts and craft, in India with or without foreign university collaboration.
The CFA programme, however, in the field of financial analysis and investments, is not technical education.