The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has updated its guidelines for advertising by educational institutions, programmes, and platforms after public consultation.
The exercise was undertaken with the aim of establishing a set of just and equitable principles that concern a critical industry in the country: education. Public consultation for the guidelines started on March 14, 2023, and concluded on April 15, 2023.
Education has been among the top violative sectors for the past few years when it comes to advertising, as per ASCI. In its Annual Complaints Report 2022–23, classical education ranked second among the top violative categories with 13.8% of total ads that did not adhere to ASCI’s guidelines.
While ASCI’s existing education guidelines require educational entities to substantiate any claims they make in their advertisements with relevant evidence, this latest update ensures that the advertisers are also mindful that their ads consider the students’ mental and physical well-being. The amendments state that ads by educational institutions, including universities, colleges and schools, coaching classes, EdTech platforms and others that offer education and training programmes should not stereotype students based on their gender, or appearance, nor portray those who score low as unsuccessful or failures.
Further to complying with the general rules of ASCI’s Code for Self-Regulation in Advertising, and the existing educations sector guidelines, the advertisements of educational institutions, programmes and platforms will now have to comply with the following additional guidelines:
Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, said, “Education advertising touches almost every citizen in the country. Ensuring the sanctity of advertising in this sector is an important task. The ASCI guidelines address the various issues that plague the sector and we hope that the industry will follow these in letter and spirit. I would like to reiterate that misleading ads are also a violation of the Consumer Protection Act and all necessary steps will be taken to keep our citizens safe.”
Manisha Kapoor, CEO and Secretary General, ASCI, said, "In addition to ads not being misleading, the updated guidelines also provide for the physical and mental well-being of students, particularly school students. While ﬁerce pressure in education is a reality, advertising must not perpetuate this problem. normalise it or exploit student and parental vulnerability. Based on our Ed-Next study, such issues were identiﬁed, and post extensive consultation with different stakeholders, we are now issuing the updated guidelines. ASCI remains deeply committed to consumer protection, and we will continue to update our Code to reﬂect contemporary and emerging concerns in advertising content.”
For the updated guidelines, readers can visit: bit.ly/43eVLFo .