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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Leading edtech companies form consortium, assure transparency

Edtech companies have been under pressure from the government with reports of them signing up children from lower-income brackets for expensive classes by tricking the parents into agreeing to expensive loan terms which would pay for these classes.

Written by Sourav Roy Barman , Aashish Aryan | New Delhi |
Updated: January 13, 2022 9:45:30 am
iamai, iamai edtech platformThe Education Ministry had earlier this month issued an elaborate advisory to parents and students dealing with edtech firms. (Representational/File)

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) Wednesday said leading companies operating in the education technology space have formed a consortium – India EdTech Consortium (IEC) – which would adhere to a common “code of conduct”.

Companies and start-ups such as Byju’s, Careers 360, Great Learning, Harappa, Times Edutech & Events Ltd, Scalar, Simplilearn, Toppr, Unacademy, upGrad, Vedantu and WhiteHat Jr have joined the IEC as of now.

“Aligned with the government’s recent advisory, 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,” the IAMAI said.

The edtech firms had also written to the Ministry of Education informing it of their move to form a consortium. In their letter to the ministry, the edtech firms said that apart from the common code of conduct, they would also establish a two-tier grievance redressal mechanism to ensure that business is conducted with transparency.

Referring to the scale and size of the edtech ecosystem, the consortium said that “it is critical” that a framework be adopted that will protect the rights of learners and companies. The framework will cover areas such as ethical sales practices, marketing communication, loans and refunds, fair and transparent functioning of a robust grievance redressal mechanism and a proposed independent grievance review board, states the letter.

Edtech companies have been under pressure from the government and have faced a lot of criticism with reports of them signing up children from lower-income brackets for expensive classes by tricking the parents into agreeing to expensive loan terms which would pay for these classes.

Following these reports, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on January 3 said that though the government respected these companies and was not against growth in their business, it could not come at the cost of exploiting students and guardians. Pradhan had then also said that his ministry was in talks with the Law as well as the IT ministries to have a common policy on these edtech firms.

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