Govt’s Warning To Byju’s, Unacademy, Whithat Jr & Other Ed-Techs: Don’t Mislead Customers Or Else..
On Friday, edtech companies have been warned by the government for unfair trade practices.
Stringent Guidelines To be Formulated
Rohit Kumar Singh, Consumer Affairs Secretary of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) which runs the self-regulatory body India Edtech Consortium (IEC) said that stringent guidelines would require to be formulated for ensuring transparency if the unfair trade practices cannot be curbed by self-regulation.
Along with IEC member companies including upGrad, BYJU’S, Unacademy, Vedantu, Great Learning, WhiteHat Jr, and Sunstone the meeting was attended by representatives of the IAMAI.
India Edtech Consortium (IEC) comprises of Indian start-ups and represents 95 per cent of the Indian learner community.
Main Issues Plaguing the Ecosystem Discussed
Issues such as unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements for the Indian edtech sector were discussed during the meeting. In this meeting, better ways to manage the consumer interests were discussed.
To further safeguard consumer interests, members of the meeting discussed the need to further enhance the Indian edtech ecosystem by making the offerings for consumers seamless, transparent, and feasible.
It was also pointed out by the Secretary that there is a need to work together to maintain robust checkpoints that align with the consumers’ interests as many advertisements and practices do not seem to conform to prevalent guidelines and existing regulations.
A major point of concern discussed in the meeting was the problem of increasing fake reviews, which needs to be dealt with effectively.
In 2021-22, as per the report by ASCI, the education category is the largest violator of advertising code and hence it was advised by the secretary that IEC should continue with their positive efforts to serve the ecosystem and form a joint working group with relevant stakeholders to create the SOPs in this regard.
The current efforts to further improve the awareness and welfare of learners were discussed by the industry members.