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ASCI lays down framework for responsible EdTech advertising

A report by the self regulatory body found that edtech ads have the trappings of traditional education ads.

Advertising Standards Council of India(ASCI) released a report on advertising in the education technology sector (EdTech) and the impact it has on parents and students. 

The report reveals that ads have a huge impact on parents’ choice of EdTech platform, with 49% of parents choosing platforms based on advertising. The advertising watchdog picked a total of 100 edtech advertisements across print, TV, digital video and static mediums.

“Like traditional education ads, Ed-Tech ads too, have a huge focus on marks and ranks. Math and science dominated the subjects depicted”, the report stated. 

In the report, it mentioned that while 81% of parents trust EdTech ads, 73% felt that ads showed high pressure of studies and also none of the endorsers/ role models in the ads were from the academic field.

The findings also noticed some positives. Some of the key positives are:  

● Ads featuring parents represented them as supporting partners to students, and  thereby provided positive role models for progressive parenting (21 out of 23 ads) 

● Parents and experts also felt that ads that focused on conceptual learning were  progressive and enjoyable

Manisha Kapoor, CEO and secretary general, ASCI, said: “EdTech has emerged as a very  important sector in recent times, especially in the pandemic era where parents engaged  with these companies to supplement their children’s education. Ed-Tech has the ability to  solve some fundamental infrastructure and content challenges and revolutionize Indian  education. However, given the particular asymmetry between vulnerable parents and  students on the one hand, and large organizations on the other, it is critical to ensure that  advertising is responsible and does not exploit these vulnerabilities. EdTech advertising has  a massive opportunity to build a positive and future-facing narrative, which makes for  compelling brand stories that also build confident and multifaceted learners.” 

Mayank Kumar, chair at Indian Ed-tech Consortium, and co-founder UpGrad said: “The EdNext report shines light on the sheer scale of the EdTech sector and highlights the need  for raising the bar on advertising in the industry along with providing a roadmap on how  that can be achieved. The report also shows huge acceptance of the benefits of EdTech products by students, parents and teachers. The in-depth research we undertook along  with ASCI will help the industry get a clear picture of how the sector can benefit through  responsible advertising, which it is already constantly working towards.”  

Divya Gokulnath, co-chair at Indian Ed-tech Consortium and co-founder BYJU’S said:  "The EdNext report highlights that almost all parents are appreciative of the ads which  show children enjoying the process of learning, which is something we live by, work for,  and showcase in our ads. We prioritize building strong and sustainable relationships based  on first principles. While it's natural for advertisers to highlight the best outcomes achieved  by their users, the EdTech industry strives to present a balanced picture at all times. As a  nascent industry that is constantly evolving, we must adapt in our effort so that we can  make learning effective for everyone. This initiative by ASCI will help us design even more  responsible and effective ad campaigns as we continue to grow and improve." 

The study was  conducted across the cities of Delhi, Bangalore, Indore, Kanpur, Patna, Kolhapur, Warangal  and Bardhaman.  

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