Ed-tech companies and educational institutes ordered to cut ties

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Ed-tech companies and educational institutes ordered to cut ties
Ed-tech companies and educational institutes ordered to cut ties

The Indian Ministry of Education issued an advisory about Ed-tech platforms three weeks ago by saying that some companies were targeting families by signing the electronic funds transfer (EFT) mandate or activating the automatic debit feature. The automatic debit option should be turned off for subscription fee payment in ‘freemium’ models, advised the Ministry to parents

The educational institutes have been ordered by the University Grant Commission and the All India Council for Technical Education to cut ties with Ed-tech companies and also have been warned of de-recognition after cracking down on educational institutes that join hands with education technology companies to offer online or conventional programmes.

Both the bodies asked higher education institutes (HEIs) to annul agreements with Ed-tech companies in a red-letter notice issued on Sunday. Officials said the higher education secretary had flagged advertisements offering educational degrees through Ed-tech firms.

“Some Ed-tech companies are giving advertisements in newspapers/social media/TV, etc., that they are offering degree and diploma programmes in ODL/online modes in association with some universities/institutions. Such a franchise arrangement is not permissible and action will be taken against defaulting Ed-tech companies as well as HEIs under applicable laws/ rules”, said the notice.

A senior official explained thatcontent creation was being outsourced by universities to Ed-tech players, with some asking professors those companies taught, and certain Ed-tech companies also awarding degrees.Some universities and institutes run programs through educational technology companies.Using a particular platform or learning management system is different, but the execution of online courses is being outsourced to education technology companies by many HEIs. That kind of outsourcing or franchising is definitely not allowed, said anofficial at AICTE.

“We don’t want Ed-tech players to advertise that they offer MBAs or BMS. They don’t have permission to do that. How do we control quality?” a UGC officer asked. The 16 January notice also warned students against such arrangements, saying they should verify a program’s entitlement/entitlement status before enrolling in it.

This is not the first time that stern warnings have been issued against the Ed-tech space. The Indian Ministry of Education issued an advisory about Ed-tech platforms three weeks ago by saying that some companies were targeting families by signing the electronic funds transfer (EFT) mandate or activating the automatic debit feature. The automatic debit option should be turned off for subscription fee payment in ‘freemium’ models, advised the Ministry to parents.

Experts feel the notice is a death knell for education technology firms. “Most Ed-tech firms derive their authenticity and recognition because of their partnership with recognised and well-known universities. With that kind of arrangement being questioned, will students still sign up at dotcom universities?” asked a retired UGC chairman.

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