Govt issues advisory on use of ed-tech firms for online coaching

Updated on Dec 24, 2021 05:09 AM IST

The ministry of education issued the advisory after several cases of fraud in ed-tech companies were reported

Students attend online classes during lockdown in the wake of Covid pandemic in Chandigarh on April 17, 2020. (HT photo)
Students attend online classes during lockdown in the wake of Covid pandemic in Chandigarh on April 17, 2020. (HT photo)
By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday issued an advisory warning parents and students to be careful while opting for online coaching being offered by ed-tech (education powered by technology) companies. The government has asked stakeholders to carefully evaluate the “free services” promised by these companies.

The ministry of education issued the advisory after several cases of fraud in ed-tech companies were reported.

“It has come to the notice of the Department of School Education and Literacy that some ed-tech companies are luring parents in the garb of offering free services and getting the Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) mandate signed or activating the auto-debit feature, especially targeting vulnerable families,” the ministry said.

According to the advisory, parents and students have been asked to avoid the automatic debit option for payment of subscription fee to these companies as ed-tech companies may offer ‘free premium business models’ which may seem free at first, but for continuous learning access, students will have to opt for a paid subscription.

“Activation of auto-debit may result in a child accessing the paid features without realising that he/she is no longer accessing the free services offered by the ed-tech company,” it stated.

The government further warned parents and students against signing up for any loans and to avoid credit or debit card registration on apps of these ed-tech platforms, and advised against installing these apps on mobile phones without verifying their authenticity.

“Do verify the quality of the content provided by the ed-tech companies and make sure that it is in line with the syllabus and your scope of study and is easily comprehensible by your child,” it added.

Citing Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, the Ministry said, “No e-commerce entity shall adopt any unfair trade (marketing) practice, whether in the course of business on its platform or otherwise. It shall not falsely represent itself as a subscriber and post reviews about its products or misrepresent the quality or the features of any educational content and its learning tool.”

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