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Government to help edtech industry on guidelines to curb misleading ads

IAMAI said that the self-regulatory body Indian Edtech Consortium (IEC) met with the Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh to update him about the progress of the self-regulation

The government asked edtech companies to eliminate unfair trade practices while extending support to the industry in formalising guidelines to curb misleading advertisements in the segment.

In a statement, IAMAI said that the self-regulatory body Indian Edtech Consortium (IEC) met with the Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh to update him about the progress of the self-regulation.

"...the Consumer Affairs Secretary agreed to support IEC to constitute a joint working group for laying down advertising guidelines for further sanitising the edtech ecosystem," the Internet and Mobile Association of India said.

It is pertinent to mention that on July 1, Consumer Affairs Secretary called a meeting of edtech companies, and warned them against indulging in unfair trade practices, including misleading advertisements.

At that time, the Centre had also told the players that it will be forced to bring stringent guidelines if there is no self-regulation by the industry players. The problem of the increasing number of fake reviews had also been a major point of concern.

The IAMAI statement on Monday quoted the secretary as saying that "We want Indian Edtechs to grow, but until we eliminate the wrongdoings completely, we will not be able to achieve our mission".

"We would like to work closely with IEC in formalising set templates and operating guidelines for Edtech companies to keep unethical practices within advertising and communications at bay. It shall foster a holistic operating environment for both entrepreneurs and consumers to offer a fair chance of growth and learning," Singh said addressing the quorum.

Currently, IEC -- a self-regulatory body under the aegis of IAMAI -- comprises Indian edtech companies and represents 95 per cent of the Indian learner community.

The meeting was joined by representatives of IAMAI, along with IEC member companies including upGrad, BYJU’S, Unacademy, Times Professional Learning and; Great Learning, the release said.

According to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) half-yearly report, the education sector continued to remain the most violative sector with 27% of the complaints related to it. Out of which, 22% belonged to the classical education category and 5% were from the ed-tech sector.

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