What is Education Ministry’s caution on using Ed-tech platforms?
On December 23, 2021, India’s Education Ministry issued an advisory on education technology (edtech) platforms, stating that some firms are targeting families by getting their consent on Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) mandate or activating auto-debit feature.
- This advisory was issued as Department of School Education and Literacy received several complaints regarding such offers.
- There were reports about people losing money because of auto debit feature in ed-tech
What are the guidelines?
- Ministry has asked the parents, students and all stakeholders in school education to be careful while opting for online content and coaching.
- It also asked parents to consider avoiding automatic debit option to pay subscription fee in freemium models. This is because, some ed-tech companies offer “Free-Premium business model”, in which a lot of their services seem to be free at first glance but in order to gain continuous learning access, students are required to opt for a paid subscription.
- Because of auto-debit activation, child start accessing the paid features without realizing that he/she is no longer accessing free services offered by ed-tech company.
- Ministry also asked the citizens to read the terms and conditions, because their IP address and personal data may be tracked. Users should do a thorough background check of edtech company, as well ask for a tax invoice statement for purchase of educational devices loaded with contents or pendrive learning or app purchase.
- Users have been asked to avoid adding their data such as emails, contact numbers, addresses, card details, etc. online because data may be sold or used for later scam attacks.
Ministry has also asked users to verify the content quality provided by ed-tech companies before purchasing it and ensure that content is in line with the syllabus and scope of study.