Leading education technology companies including Byju’s, Simplilearn, Unacademy, upGrad and Vedantu, under the auspices of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), on Wednesday announced the formation of the Indian Education Technology Consortium (IEC). In line with recent government advisories, the IEC will ensure that every learner receives a quality and affordable education, which not only improves their academic performance but also makes them ready for the future.
With consumer interest at the heart of the union, edtech companies have committed to monitoring and adhering to common ‘codes of conduct’ and establishing a two-tiered grievance redress mechanism, to ensure the positive impact of the industry reaches every deserving consumer. While protecting their interests and promoting their rights.
Several education technology entities have joined the IEC such as Byju’s, Careers 360, Classplus, Doubtnut, Great Learning, Harappa, Times Edutech & Events Ltd, Scaler, Simplilearn, Toppr, Unacademy, upGrad, UNext Learning, Vedantu, WhiteHat Jr.
“IAMAI and members of the Indian Education Technology Consortium (IEC) are strongly committed to ensuring ethical standards to protect learners on online educational platforms. Subhu Rai, President of the Internet and Mobile Association of India, said, “IEC seeks to empower learners not only by helping them make informed decisions but also by addressing their grievances in a timely manner.” “The formation of this self-regulatory body is an important step towards protecting learners as more and more students, teachers and stakeholders become part of the online education system.”
IAMAI said the move to create the IEC comes at a time when Indian education technology players are creating tremendous value for a global audience. The disruptions led by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have forced parents and educational institutions to implement technology-assisted learning solutions, thus accelerating the growth of the education technology sector.
“We fully agree with the government’s principles on protecting consumer interests and welcome the development of guidelines that help students reach their educational goals in a way that is future-ready and conceptually robust,” said Divya Gokulnath, co-founder of Byju’s. “We have always believed that the student should be at the heart of the education system and as educators we must do everything possible to create the right set of processes and methods to enable and enhance their learning.”
The company led by Byju Raveendran is currently valued at $21 billion and is the world’s most valuable educational technology startup.
Education technology operators in India are solving the issue of accessibility and affordability with high-quality courses from the best teachers, coaches and faculty, to ensure that students of all age groups benefit from innovation in the education sector. This has raised India’s position on the world map as an educational center. The Indian education technology ecosystem in general affects more than 500 million school students, university students and working professionals across India. Within this scope, it is imperative that the ecosystem follows a framework that protects the rights of our learners and all education technology companies are committed to this.
“The Indian edtech sector has grown exponentially over the past couple of years thanks to financing and consolidation to enhance the ecosystem. However, while business growth is critical, consumer protection as well as this will allow for the growth of the business,” said Vamsi Krishna, co-founder and CEO of Vedanto. For students and parents to make informed decisions about the future.” “Therefore, as part of the newly institutionalized IEC, we will build a safer and more ethical ecosystem for students so that we can ensure their safety and mitigate any risks they may face on their journey so that they are prepared for the future.”
Mayank Kumar, Co-Founder and MD, upGrad and Co-Chair, IAMAI EdTech Committee, said the past two years have seen the rise of online education as a connecting bridge to access flexible, high-quality education for students as well as working professionals.
“For the sole purpose of improving the delivery of education services, it is now important for us to enhance and maintain the confidence of stakeholders by protecting their interests as a practice,” Kumar said. “This initiative will go a long way in strengthening the education technology sector and establishing India as the education capital of the world.”
In the recent past, the education sector has undergone a major transformation and has been complemented by education technology in driving academic excellence in the new era. Having made a significant impact by providing high quality and affordable educational services, EdTech entities have also worked to improve the learnability and employability of users to meet the evolving needs of the labor market. Adaptive learning solutions ensure that learners are not just “knowledge recipients” but also “knowledge creators.” The sector has also created a large number of job opportunities. However, with the sector and its end users growing at such a rapid pace, it is critical to establish a standard code of conduct for all Indian education technology entities to adhere to and ensure that “learners” remain at the heart of all business practices.
A move to create the IEC comes at a time when the government in December last year issued advice to citizens or parents regarding the use of caution against educational technology companies. The consultant said that due to the wide impact of technology in education, many educational technology companies have started to offer courses, tutorials, training for competitive exams, etc. in an online mode. It is against this background that parents, students, and all stakeholders in school education should exercise caution while deciding on the selection of online content and training offered by a range of education technology companies. The decision should be well considered with many do’s and don’ts.
Most importantly, the consultant said, the offer of free services promised by some companies should be carefully evaluated. The Department of School Education and Literacy has learned that some educational technology companies entice parents to dress up as offering free services and signing an EFT (Electronic Transfer) authorization or activating the automatic deduction feature, especially targeting vulnerable families.