Published: 16th July 2022
BYJU'S, other EdTech companies pulled up by Centre for mis-selling courses
Recent reports have said that 33 per cent of complaints are filed against the education sector
After the Centre took serious note of mis-selling of courses to parents by EdTech firms, including BYJU's and its group companies, self-regulatory organisation India Edtech Consortium (IEC) on Saturday, July 16, said that it is committed to protecting consumer interest and has resolved 100 per cent complaints received till June.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs pulled up EdTech firms during a meeting with them and the IEC, according to sources, and aggressive mis-selling of courses to parents was the key concern, as stated in a report by IANS.
The IEC, which comes under the aegis of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and which has created a two-tier grievance redressal mechanism, said that it has resolved all complaints it has received until June 2022 and complaints received in July were going through active screening for faster resolutions.
"EdTech is well recognised in New Education Policy for not just lifelong learning but also for better and repeat learning. IEC as an SRO has also commissioned an Independent Grievance Redressal Board (IGRB) that constitutes Retd Supreme Court Judge, industry veterans and leaders to adhere to the internal Code of Conduct. This vigilance will enable the dynamic Edtech sector to address the rising challenges, and propel a stronger ecosystem in the coming times. These steps will ensure confidence among users by having a strong grievance redressal ecosystem," said Dr Aruna Sharma, Ex-Secretary, Government of India & Expert Member, IGRB while adding to the development.
The IEC also said that each member company has appointed a dedicated grievance officer internally to address and assess the problem and offer remedial action accordingly. The IEC-member companies are also registering at the National Consumer Helpline (NCH) for streamlining the resolution process, it added.
"EdTech as a strong community has been far more responsible and prompt than our traditional counterpart in managing consumer complaints and grievances," said Mayank Kumar, UpGrad Co-founder and MD and Chair at IEC.
Recent reports have said that as per the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) data, 33 per cent of complaints are filed against the education sector. However, the official statement by ASCI also stated that six per cent of the total complaints received are against the EdTech companies while the remaining 94 per cent are filed against the traditional education system, according to the IEC.
Earlier this month, the Centre warned EdTech companies against unfair trade practices. In a meeting with the IEC, Consumer Affairs Secretary, Rohit Kumar Singh, said that if self-regulation does not curb unfair trade practices, then stringent guidelines would be formulated for ensuring transparency.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the IAMAI, along with IEC member companies including upGrad, BYJU'S, Unacademy, Vedantu, Great Learning, WhiteHat Jr and Sunstone. The IEC comprises EdTech start-ups and represents 95 per cent of the Indian learner community.
During the meeting, issues pertaining to unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements for the Indian EdTech sector figured prominently.