Category Archives: India

India: Population Growth and Access to Higher Education

February 28th, 2020


It is estimated that over the next 5 years, India’s youth population will continue to increase. This means that the current education system will prove inadequate in accommodating the age group of 18-22. For this reason and those shown below, India will continue to play a dominant role as a source for higher education institutions seeking to increase their international student numbers.

Let’s take a look at some facts:

  • Current population of India: 1.3 billion (July 2018 est.)
  • Estimated population of India by 2030: 1.5 billion
  • Number of Indians who will be in the age group of 18-22 in the 5 years: 3 out of 10
  • Number of colleges and universities in India in 2017-19: 39,050 and 903, respectively
  • Number of students enrolled in higher education 2017-18: 36.64 million
  • Value of India’s education sector in 2018: US $91.7 billion
  • Value of India’s education sector in 2019: US $101.1 billion
  • Percentage of universities mandated by the government in January 2019 to deliver online degree courses: 15%
  • Expected growth of India’s on-line education over the next two years: US $1.96 billion
  • Rural internet growth and usage: 566 million people

A few observations:

  • Degrees still matter to Indian students more than skills which lead to high number of graduates with low employability.
  • Rote learning continues to be a focus of the education policy with emphasis on memorizing facts.
  • The country lacks availability of quality vocational training.
  • Academic-industry engagement is inadequate and limited to select few institutions.
  • Quality education with global exposure is limited and expensive.
  • Institutions are having a difficult time keeping up with the growing population and their needs which will result in a largely unemployable youth population holding qualifications that don’t match the needs of the industry.
  • Universities don’t provide their students with any career counselling services .


  • Make higher education accessible via e-learning opportunities. In India, even the University Grants Commission (UGC) is now recognizing open online courses.
  • Vocational education needs the government’s support so that it is at par with conventional courses to help close the gap with mainstream university education.
  • Indian universities need to invest more in research and development to have a global standing and recognition which is currently absent.


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit

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Understanding the Institutes of Chartered Accountants in India and Pakistan

April 11, 2013

Filing Taxes - 1040 Form

For institutions in the United States, accounting credentials from India and Pakistan can be especially difficult to interpret. Typically, comparative education researchers and credential evaluators in the U.S. seek to determine the comparability of foreign studies to domestic equivalents based on several criteria including:

• admission requirements for the academic program in question;
• course content covered via classroom instruction;
• specific knowledge base and skills tested via examination;
• the nature of the program in the source country.
– Do partial studies transfer into other academic programs?
– Does the completed program provide eligibility for higher academic programs?
– Does the completed program allow eligibility for professional registration, etc.?
– Is the completed program terminal?

Official accounting credentials in India are issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and official accounting credentials in Pakistan are issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) .

Both the ICAI and ICAP programs inherit much of their structure from the British system, which frequently uses a “Qualifications-Based-Assessment” approach in which all program requirements are based on examination results, and students become eligible for examinations through either academic studies, professional experience, or some combination of both. Another aspect of the British “Qualifications-Based-Assessment” method is that examinations may be graded as “pass-fail” and thus have no grades or marks associated with them.

From a comparative education perspective, the ICAI and ICAP credentials do not fit very well into the traditional mold of a U.S. educational program. ICAI and ICAP programs have very flexible “admission requirements” since eligibility for examinations can be derived from both academic and professional qualifications and classroom instruction is not necessarily a central component in every case.

Despite the fundamental differences between ICAI/ICAP and U.S. programs, the comparability of ICAI/ICAP examinations to U.S. academic levels is well established. Some of the best research done on this topic is available through NAFSA (the Association of International Educators) in the PIER Workshop Report on South Asia published in 1986 and the PIER World Education Series published in 1997. Both publications are based on research performed by a hand-picked group of experts who conducted in-country investigations and site-visits to many institutions. It has been documented and confirmed that ICAI/ICAP examinations do provide “transferrable credit” into other academic programs in India and Pakistan, and much of the comparative education research since the PIER reports has concluded similarly that the following “placement recommendations” be made for ICAI and ICAP examinations:

• Passed ICAI/ICAP Foundation Examinations are comparable to one year of undergraduate coursework in business administration and accounting in the U.S.;
• Passed ICAI/ICAP Intermediate Examinations are comparable to an associate degree in in business studies and accounting (two year of undergraduate coursework) in the U.S.;
• Passed ICAI/ICAP Professional/Final Examinations with membership are comparable to a completed Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting, a Bachelor of Science in Accounting or another similarly named degree in the U.S.

For U.S. institutions seeking to understand and process ICAI and ICAP qualifications, it is important to be aware that many details we expect to see in most academic documents might not be available. ICAI/ICAP usually issue credentials that prove completion of the program, but not individual examination titles, grades/scores, and other information that would be included in a “transcript” or similar document. Additionally, ICAI and ICAP do not typically include a description of how individuals become eligible for or exempted from certain examinations. Thus, we recommend that U.S. institutions ask applicants for the following documentation along with any official ICAI/ICAP credentials:

• Descriptions/Titles of the ICAI/ICAP examinations during certain years (similar to a curriculum) and preferably descriptions/titles of exams taken and passed by an individual – this will allow a better comparison to specific U.S. courses*;
• Documents for any previously completed academic coursework – this may provide a straightforward academic basis for exam eligibility or exemption;
• Resume and other professional experience documentation – this may add details for any exam eligibility or exemption derived from experience.

*Samples of ICAI and ICAP exam descriptions are available along with other comparative education data in Credential Consultants’ GRADE™ Database Additionally, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) compiles CPA examination results taken in the U.S. for a given year, including breakdowns of performance by country of residence, educational institutions attended, etc. The 2012 Candidate Performance Book is can be found here

Although the nature of ICAI and ICAP accounting programs may differ from typical collegiate accounting programs in the U.S., they can be compared to each other in meaningful ways for both academic and professional purposes.

Authored in collaboration with the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE) by:

Drew Feder
President of Credential Consultants, Inc.

Hany Arafat
Senior Comparative Education Specialist at Credential Consultants, Inc.

Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert
President of Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc.

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