The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has released revised guidelines for advertising “educational institutions, programmes and platforms” after a month-long public consultation which concluded on April 15, 2023. According to the ASCI, the new guidelines cover universities, schools and colleges, coaching classes and EdTech platforms and aim to focus on the impact of advertisements on children’s physical and mental well-being. When it comes to advertising, the education sector has emerged to be one of the top violators of advertising guidelines. According to the ASCI Annual Complaints Report 2022-2023, classical education accounted for 13.8 percent of the total ads that did not adhere to ASCI’s guidelines. The sector ranked second of the most violative categories after real money gaming, which accounted for 15 percent of the total wrongful ads. Why it matters: Advertisements by educational institutions, particularly online platforms, have been shown to majorly impact students' and their parents’ decision-making process while opting for an educational course or programme. In January, the ASCI published the EdNext study, which called out institutions for their misleading advertisements and misusing the communication method for unethically influencing consumers' choices. The report proposed a framework for creating mindful and responsible ads, which focus on parameters like gender diversity, a broader perspective of learning and greater transparency about courses, authorisation etc. The revised guidelines briefly touch upon some of these aspects. Key points from the guidelines: In addition to complying with ASCI’s Code for Self–Regulation in advertising, educational institutions will have to follow the new guidelines,…
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