Parents fume as edtech platforms force them to buy online courses
As the government begins to take action to fix edtech platforms like BYJU, several parents have shared their plight on social media and professional networking platforms as representatives of online education providers continue to force them to buy lessons.
The Department of Consumer Affairs recently removed education technology companies in a meeting with them and the self-regulatory organization India Edtech Consortium (IEC) amid an aggressive mis-selling of courses to parents.
“Hey BYJU’S and WhiteHat Jr…Believe me, I’m pushing my daughter to start learning coding and doing IIT JEE preps with you, but she’s just not willing to do it. The kids in our days don’t listen to their parents. She just wants to be an artist. So please stop calling me to sell these plans/devices,” Prashant Sharma, who is in business development, posted on LinkedIn. and a consultant with a penchant for storytelling.
His post has led to a barrage of similar situations faced by parents across the country, which are fueled by the constant upselling of courses by edtech reps.
Srikant Ganesh, VP of Dentsu Creative India, said he could totally identify with Sharma’s experience.
“My 9 year old son loves chess, plays the keyboard and loves speed-cubing and has no inclination towards computers/coding as such. I believe BYJU and WhiteHat of the world realize that he There’s more to kids these days than just learning to code and yes! They have a mind of their own and no one can push them into something they’re not prone to. That false sense of FOMO created by such brands should stop. , so are the calls,” Ganesh lamented.
After the Center took serious note of the mis-selling of courses to parents by educational technology companies, the self-regulatory organization IEC said it was committed to protecting the interests of consumers and resolved 100% of the complaints received until June.
However, new complaints have surfaced on social media platforms this month indicating that the issue has not been fully resolved.
“It’s happened to me. #Byju’s sales reps need to be trained to handle a ‘no’. I personally experienced this when a rep called my wife and she said we didn’t want to sign up. He kept calling and so I had to step in. He kept insisting that your child was registered on their site so how do you say no! He didn’t seem to understand and finally I had to explain to him by activating my desi side. I registered my complaint on their site, but it was deleted the next day,” said Dheeraj Grover, Senior Director, HR, VVDN Technologies.
Thangarathnavel M., business development manager for South Asia at German company Covestro, said on LinkedIn that he could also fully relate to it.
“I had enrolled my son 2 years ago but it was no use. A few months ago I started getting calls from them again to enroll my son for physical classes. But even after saying no, the calls have never stopped once i gave my opinion to one of the callers and asked him to share Mr. BYJU’s cell phone number now the calls have stopped to happen. I hope they stop this forever,” he described his plight.
Earlier this month, the Center warned edtech companies against unfair business practices.
In a meeting with the IEC, Consumer Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh said that if self-regulation did not curb unfair trading practices, then strict guidelines would be formulated to ensure transparency.
The meeting brought together representatives from IAMAI, as well as IEC member companies including upGrad, BYJU’S, Unacademy, Vedantu, Great Learning, WhiteHat Jr and Sunstone.
During the meeting, issues relating to unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements for India’s edtech sector featured prominently.