Advertising Standards Council of India [ASCI] has been receiving several complaints from parents and students against misleading claims being made in advertisement of various educational institutions pertaining to claims of success in competitive examinations, guaranteed placement and passing, recognition and affiliation institution, ranking of the institutions, nomenclature of degrees etc.
In September 2015, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against major Coaching Institutions which operate in MBA / Engineering Domain relating to misleading advertisements and unsubstantiated claims in nature of Ranking / Award / Recognitions/ Placement Claim / Success Claim / Skill Acquisition / Achievements in Competitive Examinations.
The CCC found that claims in the advertisements were not substantiated and, thus, violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions.
- CL Educate Limited (CAT Coaching): The claim in the advertisement, “5911 IIM Calls by 973 CL students from Delhi/NCR in CAT 2014”, was not substantiated.
- Shri Maharana Pratap Private ITI: The claims in the advertisement, “100% Government Job provided if they do courses from Shri Maharana Paratap ITI” and “Number of jobs in govt. sector 15000 and private sector 5,00,000”, were not substantiated. Also, the advertisement was designed to look like editorial matter, which was found to be misleading.
- Sea Academy- The claim in the Advertisement, “100% Pass Guarantee Coaching”, was not substantiated.
- Aakash Educational Services Pvt. Ltd. (Aakash Institute): The advertiser claiming that Twins, Rahul Bansal and Sahil Bansal (AIIMS-2015 ranks 23 and 40) were from their coaching institutes was not substantiated with authentic evidence.
- Institute of Advance Network Technology: The claims mentioned in the advertisement and cited in the complaint, “only institute in India which offers to students five international, nine participation and one IANT totaling 15 certificates”, “A student may get only one IANT Certificate or depending on the courses he chooses, participating companies be offering their certificates”, “100% job guarantee”, “its IT Job Portal is the only one available in India”, “Once they complete the course, they can earn annually from /- to Rs. 4,60,000/- as salary”, “No.1 Hardware Networking and Software training institute”, “No.1 Infrastructure” and “No.1 Quality Education”, were not substantiated.
- CL Educate Ltd. (All India Mock IBPS PO Preliminary examination): The claims in the advertisement, “Compete with aspirants from 200 cities” and “Over 1.2 million students trust CL with their exam preparation every year”, were not substantiated.
- AIM Study Center: The claim in the Advertisement, “100% Job Guarantee or else money back”, was not substantiated.
An old marketing strategy saying goes “ Jo Dikhta wahi bikta hai”, it would not be out of place to improvise it to say “Jo Dikhaya Jata hai, wahi bikta hai”.
Coaching Classes and Institutions have overgrown in India due to huge peer pressure and parental aspirations. It is one of the biggest sector, but still unregulated in majority part of the Country. It is high time that this sector is regulated.
Advertisements surprisingly have become one of most important medium to attract students recently amongst educational institutions. Advertisements play a big role in deciding an Institution and it is required that it should be a responsible step devoid of inducements and falsehoods.
But my issue is, what next, what is the action that will be taken against these educational institutions, who have indulged in misleading publications and advertisements and what about the students who found themselves on the wrong side relying upon the advertisements.
There is no effective legislation in place, which deals with these situations. MHRD look into the matter and bring effective legislation to ban such ads and take effective actions against the Institutions.
Ravi Bhardwaj | firstname.lastname@example.org