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advertising standard council guidelines: Advertising Standards Council releases draft guidelines for education sector

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has released revised draft guidelines for the education sector, which it said are aimed at ensuring that students are neither stereotyped based on their gender or appearance nor are those who score low portrayed as unsuccessful or failures.

Ads must also not portray average or poor-scoring students as demotivated, depressed, unhappy or receiving less appreciation from parents, teachers, or peers, the draft guidelines state. The updated guidelines factor in the physical health of students and advertisements are required not to feature students sacrificing sleep or meals in order to study as this normalises unhealthy habits. Creating a false sense of urgency or fear of missing out which could accentuate parental or student anxieties regarding education, too, will be considered a violation of the ASCI code.

Manisha Kapoor, chief executive at ASCI, said: “Unlike most other products, education cannot be tangibly measured. It is critical that, in addition to being truthful and compliant with the existing code, advertisers must consider any harm that can be caused through depictions or messages to young, impressionable minds.”

She said the updated guidelines will go a long way in ensuring that emerging fields such as EdTech can be harnessed as forces of good.

The guidelines have been opened for public consultation.

The regulator said all educational institutions, universities, colleges and schools, coaching classes, EdTech platforms and others that offer education and training programmes.

will be subject to these guidelines. “It is critical that marketing communication in this sector is honest and does not harm consumers through its portrayals or content,” ASCI said in its statement.In this year, the education sector has contributed to 27% of objectionable ads that ASCI processed.

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