Sirwin
Sirwin

Coaching Centre Guidelines 24 - the good, the bad and the ugly

By bitiuris | lawonchain | 19 Jan 2024


The recently announced guidelines for “Coaching Centres” by the Minstry of Education published on January 18, 2024 comes as a sigh of relief - for students and their guardians, and a slap on the wrist, at best, for the coaching institutes.

Although the author’s views are as unbiased as some of its readers’ - an honest attempt is made to break the leaglese down for you!

The objectives and what it means for you! 

  • To provide framework for registration and regulation of coaching centers.

Any #coachwala pvt. ltd. operating either [online or offline] will need to carry a certificate like your neighbourhood shops, including bars and restaurants need (in legal jargon it called Shops and Establishments Act certificate). Some would say that it would not be fair to compare the “coaching centres” to such businesses as they are imparting “education!” To their surprise, the word “education” does not even find a place in these guidelines - released in the wake of #kotasuicides2023

However, the guidelines define “coaching” as - “tuition, instructions or guidance” to a set of 50 students or more. Counselling and extracurricular activities are nonetheless excluded.  

  • To suggest minimum standard requirements to run a coaching center.

Again, these objectives are a few good steps taken in these guidelines which would introduce the minimum qualification of graduation for tutors, of K12 and below classes as well, which might on the other hand cause a blow to the supply-chain of edu-tainment that some #edTechs engage in - to lure gullible students from tier-I and tier-II cities.

The bad - if only the guidelines addressed app security and design requirements (such as the ones announced in the Dark Pattern guidelines by the Department of Consumer Affairs in December, 2023) as stringently done for the physical space requirements, in the guidelines, then Google Play Store would have to re-assess their editor’s choice criteria.

The ugly - the “competent authority” tussle between the University Grants Commission and the Department of Consumer Affairs till now is not clear! Why should Google care?

  • To safeguard the interest of students enrolled in coaching centers

The bad - an age cap of 16+ years students and mental well being sessions have seldom been the hail-mary. Why should it be any different for them?

  • To advise coaching centers’ focus on co-curricular activities as well for holistic development of students and to provide career guidance and psychological counseling for mental well-being of the students.

No comments!

Fees

The good - the guidelines require that the fees shall be “fair and reasonable” - a burden no JollyLLB can prove in the courts without any standards for edtech “coaching” study materials and/or tutors - a loss to the “education” standards! 

The ugly - It also says that, “receipts for the fee charged must be made available.” As per the author’s survey - a GATE aspirant at Unacademy (Mehrauli, Delhi branch) admitted that many students are paying business correspondents / agents of the coaching class to gain access to study materials, class-room teaching, and mock-test - a grave loss to the exchequer and consumer rights! 

However, the “competent authority” can accept claims on the basis of an affidavit - so there is still better consumer protection than GSTvigilence!

Complaints 

The good - if the complaints are not resolved by the coaching centre then the “competent authority” shall resolve the dispute within 30 days? - or an enquiry committee by the appropriate government!

The bad - penalty is capped at 1,00,000 for the first 2 instances of offences and the third is cancellation of registration!

The ugly - “competent authority” is not disclosed.

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