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Updated January 18th, 2024 at 16:12 IST

Cracking Down on Misleading Ads: Ministry Unveils Stringent Guidelines for Coaching Institutes

In a major move to curb misleading advertisements by coaching institutes, the Ministry of Education has introduced comprehensive guidelines.

Nandini Verma
Coaching Centre Guidelines
Coaching Institutes | Image:PTI/ File
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In a major move to curb misleading advertisements by coaching institutes, the Ministry of Education has introduced comprehensive guidelines aimed at regulating the sector and putting an end to unscrupulous practices.

The guidelines explicitly state that coaching centres are prohibited from enrolling students below 16 years of age and making deceptive promises such as guaranteeing ranks or good marks. The new framework addresses the pressing need for legal guidelines and seeks to manage the unregulated growth of private coaching centres.

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The government's decision follows an influx of complaints related to student suicides, fire incidents, insufficient facilities, and questionable teaching methodologies in coaching centres. The guidelines firmly assert that coaching institutes cannot publish misleading advertisements, either directly or indirectly, concerning the quality of coaching, facilities, or results.

Furthermore, the guidelines emphasize the importance of qualified tutors, requiring them to have at least graduation-level qualifications. The ban on engaging tutors convicted of offences involving moral turpitude has been enforced, and coaching centres must establish a counselling system to be eligible for registration.

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To enhance transparency, coaching centres are mandated to maintain a website with updated details on tutor qualifications, courses, curriculum, duration, hostel facilities, and fees. The guidelines particularly address the mental well-being of students, urging coaching centres to conduct classes without undue pressure and establish immediate intervention mechanisms for students in distress.

Recognizing the need for mental health support, the guidelines encourage tutors to undergo training in mental health issues. This initiative stems from concerns raised by the alarming surge in student suicides, particularly in coaching hub Kota in 2023, prompting a comprehensive reevaluation of industry practices.

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In addition to focusing on mental well-being, the guidelines address the financial aspects of coaching. Tuition fees for different courses must be fair and reasonable, with receipts readily available. Provisions for refunds within ten days, on a pro-rata basis, are outlined for students leaving a course midway.

To reinforce the policy's effectiveness, the Centre has proposed penalties of up to Rs 1 lakh or cancellation of registration for coaching centres engaging in malpractices, including charging exorbitant fees that contribute to student stress and suicides.

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To ensure proper oversight and implementation, the government has proposed the registration of new and existing coaching centres within three months of the guidelines coming into effect. State governments will play a crucial role in monitoring coaching centre activities and ensuring compliance with eligibility requirements.

The document concludes by emphasizing that the regulation of +2 level education is best left to the purview of State/Union Territory Governments. The comprehensive guidelines aim to bring about a transformative shift in the coaching industry by prioritizing the integrity of advertisements and the well-being of students.

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Published January 18th, 2024 at 16:12 IST

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