Johannesburg, Friday 16 August 2019 –With the release of the June Initial Test of Competence (ITC) results*, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) congratulates the 587 candidates who passed the second sitting of this qualifying exam. These candidates join the 2 175 candidates who passed in January to bring the total number of candidates who passed ITC this year to 2 762.
The ITC is the standard setting examination that all prospective chartered accountants (CAs[SA]) write after completing their accredited post-graduate programme in order to assess the core technical competence developed during their academic studies.
Written twice a year (in January and again in June), prospective CAs(SA) have several opportunities to pass the exam, which serves as the first of two SAICA Qualifying Examinations.
With 587 candidates passing, the results of the June sitting bring the total number of candidates who passed ITC this year to 2 762.
While these results are similar to last year’s results (2 854 candidates passed in 2018), SAICA has noted with great concern the significant challenges this year’s June ITC results have confirmed regarding distance education programmes.
“Distance Education candidates achieved a 27% pass rate in the June ITC,” explains Mandi Olivier, Senior Executive: Professional Development at SAICA. “As these candidates make up two-thirds of the June ITC exam population, this has had a considerable effect on the overall pass rate of the June cohort – bringing the June overall pass rate down to 38%. [Distance education refers to the mode of delivery and generally means that the institution provides learning materials and assessment with little to no face to face contact] Candidates from contact universities achieved a 61% pass rate by comparison.”
From a transformation perspective, the distance education provider’s results are extremely troubling, and further interventions need to be looked into to support these students adds Chantyl Mulder, SAICA’s Executive Director: Nation Building.
“Distance education has always filled a valuable role in the market for students – particularly African students – who often need to continue their studies while working part time for financial reasons. UNISA is currently the only distance education provider of the SAICA accredited postgraduate programme which allows entry into the ITC. SAICA recognises the many challenges associated with distance learning education and notes the importance of providers having in place a delivery model which meets the specific learning needs of their students. In the past year, SAICA has met with senior management at UNISA several times to discuss concerns with distance education’s ability to meet the learning needs of these students within the institution’s College of Accounting Sciences. Having now seen the effects first hand – through the results of the 2018 UNISA examinations and now the ITC – SAICA will continue to engage with UNISA by consulting on and discussing ways in which UNISA can address the specific learning needs of distance learning students thereby improving throughputs, both in the postgraduate programme as well as in the ITC.”
Support programmes: invaluable for transformation
Speaking of transformation, Gugu Makhanya, SAICA Senior Executive: Transformation adds that it is not all doom and gloom.
‘Many of the African and Coloured candidates who were successful in the June ITC sitting passed thanks to the 2019 Thuthuka ITC Repeat Programme, one of SAICA's many programmes to drive transformation within the profession,’ explains Makhanya.
‘Following prior year successes, the 2019 ITC Repeat Programme was run over a period of six weeks by the University of Johannesburg and was funded this year directly by the candidates themselves as well as the candidates’ employers as SAICA could not facilitate funding for this programme as we have done in prior years. We are extremely pleased with the pass rates of candidates who attended this programme which was 66% compared to the national average of 38%. This programme is open to African and Coloured students who previously failed the ITC. Over the six weeks of the intensive programme, candidates participate in lectures, write tests every Saturday, and practice assessments in the weeks leading up to the June ITC exam. The programme also includes a mentoring and coaching element to support these candidates during their study programme. As a profession with such ambitious transformation goals, we are grateful to all the companies who collaborated to make this happen.’
* Detailed ITC statistics can be found on the SAICA website
SAICA, South Africa’s pre-eminent accountancy body, is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading accounting institutes. The Institute provides a wide range of support services to more than 46 000 members and associates who are chartered accountants [CAs(SA)], as well as associate general accountants (AGAs(SA)) and accounting technicians (ATs(SA)), who hold positions as CEOs, MDs, board directors, business owners, chief financial officers, auditors and leaders in every sphere of commerce and industry, and who play a significant role in the nation’s highly dynamic business sector and economic development.
About the Thuthuka Bursary Fund and Education Upliftment Project: One of SAICA’s prime goals is to contribute towards strengthening the country’s economy by playing a significant and leading role in transformation and skills
development. The Thuthuka Education Upliftment Project, a pioneering initiative to promote transformation in the profession, was launched in the Eastern Cape in 2002 and has grown into a national project.
Thuthuka’s objective is to transform the demographics of the profession to reflect those of the country in terms of race and gender, and provide educational support to African learners and students for the benefit of the profession, while simultaneously helping to uplift communities. Therefore, SAICA prides itself in leading the chartered accountancy profession as a socially responsible driver of business and skills development by supporting and encouraging enterprise development initiatives.
SAICA Media Contact
Ms Karin Jacobsen
Project Manager: Marketing and Communications SAICA Nation Building Division
Tel: 011 621 6913
Mr Kulani Chauke
Corporate Communications Co-Ordinator, Marketing & Communications (SAICA)
Tel: 011 479 0698