New Delhi: The Education Ministry Thursday issued an elaborate advisory to parents and students dealing with ed-tech firms asking them, among other things, to exercise caution while making payments.
The advisory asks them to avoid using the automatic debit option for payment of subscription fees. ”It has come to the notice of the Department of School Education and Literacy that some ed-tech companies are luring parents in the garb of offering free services and getting the Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) mandate signed or activating the Auto-debit feature, especially targeting the vulnerable families,” the ministry said in a statement.
Given the pervasive impact of technology in education, many ed-tech companies have started offering courses, tutorials, coaching for competitive and other exams in an online mode, the ministry said. The ministry said the parents, students, and all stakeholders in school education have to be careful while deciding on opting for online content and coaching being offered by a host of Ed-tech companies.
”Some ed-tech companies may offer the Free-Premium business model where a lot of their services might seem to be free at first glance but to gain continuous learning access, students have to opt for a paid subscription. Activation of auto-debit may result in a child accessing the paid features without realizing that he/she is no longer accessing the free services offered by the ed-tech company,” said the advisory.
It also advised the users to ask for a tax invoice statement for the purchase of educational devices loaded with contents/app purchase/Pendrive learning.
”Do not sign up for any loans of which you are not aware. Do not install any mobile ed-tech applications without verifying the authenticity. Avoid credit/debit cards registration on apps for subscriptions. Place an upper limit on expenditure per transaction,” said the advisory.
It also cautioned them against adding personal data like emails, contact numbers, card details, addresses, etc online as these details may be sold or misused later.
”Do not share any personal videos and photos. Use caution against turning on the video feature or getting on video calls on an unverified platform. Keep your child’s safety at the utmost priority. Do not subscribe to unverified courses because of their false promises,” it said.
It also advised against trusting the “success stories” shared by ed-tech companies without proper check as they might be a trap to gather more audience.