India’s major EdTech firms have grouped together to form ‘India EdTech Consortium’, an an autonomous body, in order to self-regulate and adhere to a “common code of conduct."
In a letter sent to the Union Education Ministry, the Consortium’ of fifteen edtech players said they will adhere to a common code of conduct to ensure transparency in business, The Economic Times reported.
The consortium will enable the member firms to set a standard for online education in the country with least interference by the government.
Major edTech firms like Byju’s, Unacademy, Vedantu, Careers 360, Harappa Education, Times EdTech & Events Ltd, upGrad, Simplilearn, Doubtnut, Classplus and Toppr are already part of the grouping. More companies are expected to “come on board,” ET reported.
The move comes at a time when the Union Education Ministry is working on a policy to regulate edtech players operating in the country.
Pointing out that some edtech firms are exploiting students, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan recently said, "there cannot be a monopoly…you cannot exploit students.”
The minister infomed that his office has taken up the issue with the Ministry of Law and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to work out a regulatory policy for the EdTech sector.
“We are in talks with the Ministry of Law and MeitY about how we can have a common policy on edtech platforms,” Pradhan said this at a programme orgasnised by All Indian Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
India's EdTech sector has witnessed a phenomenal growth across domains to accelerate learning outcomes, thanks to increased internet and smartphone penetration, a shift toward digital learning, and the need to upskill.
The use of technology in education has given students access to global quality academicians, industry experts, and seamless flexibility, allowing them to learn in an agile learning environment that nurtures and encourages work-study-life balance.
In the process, the EdTech sector has broken down geographical barriers and made education more accessible.
However, lack of regualation on edtech firms has led to complaints of predatory marketing practices and exploitation of students.
The Parliament was informed that big edtech players are making exaggerated promises. Karti Chidambaram, MP for Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu, told the Parliament that parents are being forced to buy courses, and edtech forms are auto-debiting fees from their accounts even as they do not want to continue the courses.