The ministry of education on Thursday issued a detailed advisory to parents and students dealing with ed-tech firms asking them to be careful while making payments, among other things. In the advisory they have been asked to avoid using automatic debit option for payment of subscription fee.
“It has come to the notice of the Department of School Education and Literacy that some Ed-tech companies are luring parents in the guise of offering free services and signing the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) mandate or activating the auto-debit facility, Particularly targeting vulnerable families,” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said that considering the massive impact of technology in education, many Ed-tech companies have started offering courses, tutorials, coaching for competitive and other exams in online mode.
The ministry said that parents, students and all stakeholders of school education have to be careful while choosing online content and coaching offered by ed-tech companies.
“Some Ed-tech companies may offer a free-premium business model where a lot of their services may seem free at first glance, but to gain access to continuous learning, students need to opt for a paid subscription. With the activation of auto-debit, the child may have to use the paid facilities without realizing that he is no longer using the free services offered by the ed-tech company,” the advisory said.
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 loan that you are not aware of. Do not install any mobile ed-tech application without verifying authenticity. Avoid credit/debit card registration on apps for subscription. Per transaction Set an upper limit of expenditure,” the advisory said.
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. Be careful not to turn on the video feature or make video calls on unverified platforms. Keep your child’s safety a top priority. Do not subscribe to unverified courses because of false promises,” it said.
It also advised against relying on ‘success stories’ shared by ed-tech companies without proper scrutiny as they can be a trap to gather more audience.