We missed this earlier: Citizens should do background checks of ed-tech companies before purchasing from them, the Ministry of Education has recommended in an advisory issued on December 23. The ministry has also warned users against enabling auto-debit payment mechanisms on such platforms and asked them to check the quality of the educational material, among other suggestions. Malpractices by certain ed-tech companies such as enrolments through dubious loans were recently highlighted in Parliament by Congress MP Karti P. Chidambaram. News reports have also emerged about how companies like Byju's pursue aggressive sales tactics, prompting calls for government regulations. However, this is the first time the Ministry has said anything or cautioned citizens on this issue. Do's and don'ts for citizens Avoid getting coerced into loans, falling for OTP scams: Users should not sign up for loans of which they are not aware. Children should be made to understand marketing strategies used by ed-tech companies to encourage spending. The automatic debit option for payment should be avoided as it could lead to a child inadvertently accessing paid content. Credit/debit cards should also not be added for subscription on apps, and these cards should have an upper expenditure limit. Purchases on such apps should not be allowed without parental consent. Sharing information about bank account, OTP, card, email, etc. should be avoided since it could be sold or used for scam attacks. A tax invoice statement should be demanded on the purchase of educational devices loaded with contents/app purchase/Pendrive learning. Prevent surreptitious data collection by companies:…
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