CFAI doesn’t require you to believe the EMH to pass the exams, and in fact if the EMH were true CFAI dogma, then there wouldn’t need to be all that stuff on accounting and valuation or even portfolio management, becaue all that is required is to believe the price. So just because it’s on the exam doesn’t mean that it is the only right way to manage investments.
I think it is true that if you are going to assert that markets aren’t efficient, the burden of proof is on the investor to explain why they aren’t. I don’t happen to think that markets aren’t efficient, but the fact that lots of people lost money in 2008-2011 isn’t proof on its own that EMH isn’t true. Nothing about EMH says that markets can never go down, or down severely; it says that current prices reflect discounts to expected earnings that incorporate all existing knowledge and the possibility that markets can go down.
What they do want you to do is know about what the EMH argument is and that 1) beating the average market return consistently through skill is definitely not easy and may be impossible, and 2) getting the market average is relatively simple and involves buying an index fund. Furthermore, any fund manager who is capable of beating the market consistently has a huge incentive to keep most of the outperformance for themselves in the form of management fees.
I do think that the CFAI curriculum is a little US centric, but I am not sure how much is gained by forcing CFAI candidates to learn all the intricacies of each individual market just to pass the exam. Given that it’s global and transportable, it makes it manageble to cover the largest most liquid market, and allow those candidates from other regions to then start to take that knowledge and adapt it to their own local regulations.
CFAI isn’t a regulatory exam, it’s a principles exam. Experience (which is also required for the charter) is where you get practice applying those principles to the realities of your market.