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 guaranteed placement and passing, recognition and affiliation institution, ranking of the institutions, nomenclature of degrees etc.
In August 2015, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints in 41 advertisements in the Education category relating to misleading advertisements and unsubstantiated claims in nature of Ranking / Award / Recognitions/ Placement Claim / Success Claim / Skill Acquisition in Competitive Examinations.
The CCC found that claims in the advertisements by 41 advertisers were not substantiated and, thus, violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions.
Hence complaints against these advertisements were UPHELD.
- Personaliteez: The advertisement’s claim, “Making 2 lakhs per weekend”, was not substantiated.
- Peoples Empowerment Group – ISB&M School of Technology: The claims in the advertisement, “100% Placement” and “ISB&M School of Technology Ranked 8th in Emerging Engineering Institutes in India”, were not substantiated.
- NIPS School of Hotel Management: The claims in the advertisement, “World Record Holder”, “Ranked No. 1 Eastern India the Pioneer Newpaper 2014”, “Best Placement Award- By South Asian Academy, New Delhi, 2012”, “Ranked No. 2 Among India’s Private Hotel Management Institute – The Pioneer Newspaper – 2013”, “Holder of Limca, Asia & India Books Of Records”, “Eastern India’s Best Hotel Management College- Awarded By Brands Academy, New Delhi – 2013”, “Winner 8th National Education Award- Awarded by NEA, New Delhi- 2014”, “Winner National W.B Education Award- Awarded by NEA, New Delhi – 2014” and “Worldwide Hospitality Award- Awarded by WWHA, Paris, France- 2003”, were not adequately substantiated with evidence.
- The Mentor’s Academy: The claims in the advertisement stating, “Get a reputed Government job. Get Bank, Railway, Police etc. in just one day exam”, and “100% Money Back Guarantee”, were not substantiated.
- CL Educate Ltd (Career Launcher): The claims in the advertisement stating, “CAT Test Series – The No.1 CAT Test Series Program”, “Most recommended test series”, “Rated the best by students” and “True percentile predictor”, were not substantiated adequately.
- SCMS School of Engineering & Technology: The claim, “Kerala’s No. 1 Engineering College (SF) in quality and excellence”, was not substantiated with comparative data.. The claim, “SCMS is ranked No. 1 in all ranking surveys conducted by RECCA-NIT”, was not substantiated with supporting data and also the claim is misleading by omission of what the ranking was specific to.
- Invertis University: The advertisement claims, “National Education Award 2014 for Outstanding B-School & Engg. Univ. – ABP”, “4 Star Ranking – The Pioneer”, “Bharat Shiksh Ratan – Velidicted by GAF, Delhi” and “Best Emerging University Of North India – Indian Achievers Podium”, were not adequately substantiated and were misleading by omission of disclaimers.
- Career Institute for Commerce & Accounting: The claim in the Advertisement, “AIR- 26, 30, 36, 37, 41, 42” as a declaration is considered to be fake and not substantiated with supporting data.
Complaints against advertisements of all educational institutes listed below mostly are UPHELD because of unsubstantiated claims that they ‘provide 100% placement/AND/OR they claim to be the No.1 in their respective fields’:
Vidyalankar Classes, Vivekananda Degree & PG College, Aim Entertainment Acting Academy, Learn & Earn Academy, Master of Science Information & Technology, Mediit Educational Institute, ADCC Infocad Private Limited (ADCC Academy), Wisdom Institute, Sri Shakthi Institute Of Engineering & Technology, Ponjesly College of Engineering, Vidyalankar Classes, One Dream, Blue Bells Innovative School, UEI Global Education, Tajinder Bhatia Achieve Max, Vidya Knowledge Park, MIST Plus, Happy Child College of Nursing, Sai Wellness Education, The Prayag International Institute of Hotel &Tourism, All India Computer Trainers Association, IPCA Accountancy, Millennium Institute of Management, Banda Para College Medical, KIPM College of Engineering & Technology, ISC CNC Training Centre, Chalapathi Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, National Power Training Institute Corporate Centre, Centre for Bioinformatics, SKML Defence Academy, Mangayarkarasi Educational Trust (Mangayarkarasi College of Arts & Science), NIV Foundations (NIV School of Hospitality Management) and Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies (Delhi School of Business).
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) was established in 1985. One of the important functions of ASCI to ensure the protection of the interests of consumers in various categories. ASCI has therefore laid down guidelines with a view to achieve the acceptance of fair advertising practices in the best interests of the ultimate consumer.
The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI deals with complaints received from Consumers and Industry, against Advertisements which are considered as False, Misleading, Indecent, Illegal, leading to Unsafe practices, or Unfair to competition, and consequently in contravention of the ASCI Code for Self-Regulation in Advertising.
ASCI is also the “Executive Arm” of the Department of Consumer Affairs handling all complaints pertaining to misleading advertisements.
Advertisements surprisingly have become one of most important medium to attract students recently amongst educational institutions. A career has lot of emotions attached to it. Parents make great personal sacrifices to enable their children to get the right education. 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 |