Edtech platforms have formed a self-regulatory body under the Internet and Mobile Association of India, which they say will be aligned with the government’s recent advisory.

A student taking notes during an online classImage for representation
Atom Edtech Wednesday, January 12, 2022 - 16:22

Edtech companies such as Byju’s, Vedantu and upGrad are now seeking to self-regulate, which comes just days after Sivaganga MP Karti Chidamabaram called for the regulation of the sector in Parliament and the Union government issued an advisory. Edtech platforms have formed a self-regulatory body under the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) called the India EdTech Consortium (IEC), which they say will be aligned with the government’s recent advisory.

The edtech platforms in the IEC include Byju's, Careers 360, Classplus, Doubtnut, Great Learning, Harappa, Times Edutech & Events Ltd, Scaler, Simplilearn, Toppr, Unacademy, upGrad, UNext Learning, Vedantu and WhiteHat Jr.

In a statement, IAMAI said that the IEC “will ensure that every learner shall have access to quality and affordable education, which not only improves their academic performance but also makes them future-ready.”

According to the companies, they have committed to adhere to a code of conduct and establish a two-tier grievance redressal mechanism. The sector has received a lot of funding in the recent past as the pandemic moved most education online. In its statement, IAMAI said that the sector has also created employment opportunities, but as it continues to grow at a fast pace, it is “critical to establish a standard code of conduct for all Indian EdTech entities to adhere to and ensure that ‘learners’ remain at the core of all the business practices.”

Commenting on the formation of the IEC, Divya Gokulnath, co-founder of Byju’s said, “We are completely aligned with the government's principles on safeguarding consumer interests and welcome the creation of guidelines that help students reach their learning goals in a manner that makes them future ready and conceptually strong. 

Vedantu CEO and co-founder Vamsi Krishna said that consumer protection is also critical and it will allow students and parents to make more informed decisions.

Late last month, the Ministry of Human Resource Development said in a notification that 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 the vulnerable families".

"The parents, students and all stakeholders in school education have to be careful while deciding on opting for online content and coaching being offered by a host of ed-tech companies," the HRD ministry said.

Read: ‘Parents being lured’: Union govt issues advisory on edtech platforms

The HRD ministry also advised parents to avoid automatic debit option for payment of subscription fee as it may result in a child accessing the paid features without realising that he/she is no longer accessing the free services.

In December, a report filed by the BBC questioned ed-tech unicorn BYJU's glorious run in India. The world's highest-valued ed-tech start-up has more than six million paying users, and a 85% renewal rate. The BBC spoke to many parents, according to whom the edtech giant's promised services never materialised, including its one-on-one tutoring and mentoring.

Read: Karti Chidambaram questions practices of edtech platforms like Byju’s

With IANS inputs

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