Advertising Council censors ads of leading Management Institutes as misleading

 

In a major crackdown on Advertisements released by the Management Institutes and even some Private Universities, the Advertisement Standard Council of India, has in its decision of March 2016 has found several of their ads to be misleading, unsubstantiated and ambiguous.

These Institutes as per the decision of the Advertising Council have made either false or unsubstantiated claims of percentage of placements, salary packages, nature of placement assistance extended to the students, which are likely to mislead the students and induce them in seeking admissions with these Institutes.

In March 2016, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against major Management Institutes and in some cases shocking reputed Private Universities, relating to misleading advertisements and unsubstantiated claims in their Advertisements. The CCC found that claims in the following advertisements were not substantiated and, thus, violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions.

  1. Jaipuria Institute of Management: The advertisement’s claim, “Near 100% Placement with average package of Rs.5.68 lac and highest package of Rs.13 lac”, was not substantiated with authentic data. Also, the claim of “Near 100% Placement” was misleading by ambiguity in the absence of disclaimer/qualifier.
  1. Indira Institute of Management: The advertisement’s claim, “Average Salary Package Rs.5 Lacs per annum (Highest salary Rs.8 lacs per annum)”, was not substantiated and was misleading.
  1. Manipal University Jaipur: The advertisement’s claim, “Average Package 4.45 Lakhs”, was not substantiated and was misleading. 12. Faculty of Management Studies – Institute of Rural Management: The advertisement’s claims, “100% Placement Record” and “Highest Package 2015 SBI, Escorts @ Rs.9.0 Lacs”, were not substantiated and were misleading.
  1. Jagannath University: The advertisement’s claim, “100% Placement Assistance”, and “Package upto 6 lacs”, were not substantiated. Also, the claim, “100% Placement Assistance” is likely to mislead the consumers as it implies that the advertiser gives assistance for 100% placement. Also, as assistance cannot be a quantifiable measure and could have a wide range of modalities, the claim was misleading by ambiguity.
  1. MATS Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship: The advertisement’s claim, “Highest Package Offered – International – 28 Lakhs / annum – Domestic- 15 Lakhs / annum”, was not substantiated with evidence to prove that the individual students were indeed given the salary offer and was misleading.
  1. Jaipuria Institute of Management (Jaipuria MBA): The advertisement’s claims, “Get assured 100% placement in TOP NOTCH Company by 160+recruiters” and “Jaipuria MBA provides 100% ROI with Rs.9.6 Lacs highest package and Rs.4.5 Lacs average package”, were not substantiated and were misleading.
  1. Shri Ram Murti Smarak International Business School: The advertisement’s claims, “Salary Package – 2011-13 – Minimum: 3.00 Average: 4.00, 2012-14 – Minimum: 3.22 Average: 4.20”, “% of Placements at the end of the Trimester (2012-14) – IVth Trimester – 52% Vth Trimester – 24% VIth Trimester – 24%” and “100% Placement assistance”, were not substantiated. Also, the claim, “100% Placement assistance”, was likely to mislead the consumers that the advertiser is giving 100% assistance for placements.
  1. Saveetha School of Management: The advertisement’s claim, “Dynamic corporate relationship for 100% placements”, was not substantiated with supporting data. Also, the claim was misleading by ambiguity in the absence of disclaimer/qualifier.
  1. ICBM-School of Business Excellence: The advertisement’s claim, “Highest Salary 6.2 L & Avg Salary 3.6 L”, was not substantiated with evidence to prove that the individual students were indeed given the salary offer. Further the claim in the advertisement, “100% Placements”, was not substantiated with details of batch size, enrolment forms, appointment letters and contact details of the students who got placements, for verification and was considered to be misleading by ambiguity.
  1. Indus Business Academy: The advertisement’s claim, “5.4 Lacs Average CTC”, was not substantiated and was misleading.
  1. Holy Grace Academy of Management Studies: The advertisement’s claim, “Highest Placement in India in 2007 Batch. Rs.1 Crore Annum”, was not substantiated adequately and was misleading by exaggeration.
  1. Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR): The advertisement’s claim, “An average Package of 6 lakhs and highest package of 12 lakhs”, was not substantiated adequately. Also, the claim was misleading by ambiguity about the job location and corresponding salary in foreign currency.
  1. Institute of Management Research & Technology: The advertisement’s claim, “Highest Salary 5.5 Lac Avg. Salary 2.2 Lac”, was not substantiated and was misleading.
  1. Mangalmay Institute of Management & Technology: The advertisement’s claim, “The average salary for MBA placements in Delhi NCR, Noida and Greater Noida has been Rs.4.5 Lacs p.a.”, was not substantiated with supporting data and is misleading by ambiguity.

Complaints against advertisements of   Gitam School of International Business, JK Lakshmipat University, Dr.D.Y Patil Vidyapeeth Global Business School & Research Centre, Jain Institute of Management & Entrepreneurship, M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Management and Asian School of Business Management were UPHELD because of unsubstantiated claims that they ‘provide 100% placement/AND/OR they claim to be the No.1 in their respective fields’.

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) was established in 1985. One of the important functions1ASCI_380 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.

EduLegaL View:

An old marketing strategy saying goes “ Jo Dikhta wahi bikta hai”, it would not be out of place to improvise it to say “Jo Dikhaya Jata hai, wahi bikta hai”.

Education is one of strongest pillars of our HR Index and advertisements surprisingly have become one of most important medium to attract students recently amongst educational institutions. 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 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 | mail@edulegal.in

NAAC decides to disclose Self Study Reports [SSR] under RTI

National Assessment and Accreditation Council has decided to bring Self Study Report submitted by the Higher Education Institutes for the purpose of assessment and Accreditation under Right to Information Act, 2005 and has accordingly decided to disclose the Report on application under the Act.

The Self-Study Report (SSR) to be submitted by the Institutions comprises Preface; Executive Summary inclusive of the SWOC analysis of the institution; Profile of the Institution; Evaluative Report – Criteria-wise; Evaluative Report – Department-wise.

SSR is like a statement of purpose submitted by an Institution and it summarises the Institutions’ strength on the seven criteria like Curricular Aspects, Teaching-Learning and Evaluation Research, Consultancy and Extension Infrastructure and Learning Resources Student Support and Progression Governance, Leadership and Management Innovations and Best Practices. It also talks about achievement of the Institution and its plans and strategies for achieving its further goals / vision.

Under the earlier process an institution was required to submit SSR post the acceptance of Letter of Intent and also upload the same on their website and retain the same on their website till the visit of the Peer Team. Later under the Revised Timelines, Institutions were directed to submit SSR along with Letter of Intent.

NAAC has now made an attempt to make the process more transparent and has accordingly decided to provide the photocopies of the SSR’s submitted by Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s) under RTI provided the RTI request is made within one month from the declaration of Accreditation results.

It has therefore directed all the Higher Educational Institutions to retain the SSR uploaded on their website prior to Assessment & Accreditation, until the completion of validity period of Assessment and Accreditation, so that on receipt of RTI Application regarding the SSR, the Applicant can be asked to refer the access the SSR uploaded on institutional website.

EduLegaL View

The step is a welcome one and will ensure further transparency!

However, the underlining mischief addressed in this decision is the condemnable practice of plagiarism, where certain Institutions copied language, data and content from SSR of other Institution while preparing their own SSR for the purpose of accreditation.

NAAC while examining SSR had found several such instances and had taken effective steps in that regard.

But, there is a legal issue, several Deemed Universities are fighting litigation in High Court challenging the applicability of RTI Act, 2005 to the Deemed Universities. In fact Karnataka High Court has ruled in favour of a Deemed University. Bombay High Court has also granted stay in one matter. What happens in such cases? Will not the directive be violation of the judicial views ?

Arguments will continue !

Read other related news:

From old NAAC to new NIRF – Warning to avoid fraudsters continues

NAAC warns Institutions to refrain from Plagiarism in SSR

“HOW TO GET GRADE “A” in NAAC WORKSHOPS”, NAAC cautions Institutions

 

 

UGC notifies restructuring of courses in Physical and Sports Education

UGC2UGC while considering specification of new degrees in Physical and Sports Education in exercise of its powers u/s 22 of the UGC Act, 1956 has recently notified introduction of Bachelor of Physical Education and Sports (BPES) and Maters of Physical Education and Sports [MPES] in the list of specification of degrees, by way of amendment in the specification of degrees published on 5th July 2014.

In the year, 1966, vide Notification dated 27.04.1966, UGC had introduced BPE [Bachelor of Physical Education] and MPE [Masters of Physical Education] in list of specification of degrees. In the year 2004, UGC recommended phasing out these degrees from the academics.

In the specification of degrees published in July 2014, UGC had restructured BPE [Bachelor of Physical Education] and MPE [Masters of Physical Education] and prescribed new degrees, viz., BPEd and MPEd, which was result of phasing out the BPE and MPE Degrees, started in year 2004.

Earlier, the BPE course run by several Universities in the Country was a 3 years degree course, allowing 12th Pass Students to pursue this Course. However, by amendment in July 2014, the Bachelor in Physical Education [BPEd] was prescribed as 2 year Course with Bachelor Degree as qualifying degree. This eliminated a big community of students aspiring to have career in Physical Education after passing Class 12th, as they would have to wait till their graduation.

UGC realised its mistake and has now restructured the courses in Physical and Sports Education and introduced Bachelor of Physical Education and Sports (BPES) and Maters of Physical Education and Sports [MPESportseducationS] in the list of specification of degrees. Pertinently, it has restored the qualifying examination to be 10+2 for the Bachelors Course and retained Bachelor Degree as qualifying examination for Master’s Course.

In addition, to BPES, the UGC has also approved MPES [Masters of Physical Education and Sports] Program. Considering that is a Master’s Degree, it will be of two years duration and will run concurrently with MPEd Degree Course.

Accordingly, it has requested the Institutions offering BPE/MPE or BPEd/MPEd to restructure their courses.

EduLegal View:

We all welcome this step of restoration of 3 year degree course, because it is majorly after 12th only that career decisions are made. In such sense, this is really a welcome step by UGC.  But UGC should be mindful of the fact that introduction of a new degree course should generally be done at the beginning of the academic year, so that Universities/ Institutions can start admission to these courses. A delayed introduction denies concerned Institutions to introduce the course in the same year because of curriculum constraints.

Der Aye Lekin Durust Aye !

Read the Notification

[embeddoc url=”http://edulegal.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Second-Amendment-to-UGC-Notification-2014-on-Specification-of-Degrees.pdf” download=”all” viewer=”google”]

 

UGC notifies Regulations on Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Sexual Harassment

UGC2UGC has notified Regulations relating to Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Sexual Harassment of women employees and students in Higher Educational Institutions, which shall apply to Higher Educational Institutes in India. It has also made its intentions clear that an Institute not following the Regulations will face strict action that could include withdrawal of grants or even de-recognition.

The Regulations defines sexual harassment to include all nature of verbal, physical or non-verbal conduct with sexual undertones intending to create a hostile and intimidating environment for the student on campus. It also enlarged the meaning of student to include a prospective student and student studying in other Institution as a student of an Institute, where any incident of sexual harassment takes place against such student. It also tried to protect the student from third party or outsiders indulging in such act at the campus.

The word “campus” has been given very wide meaning to include the Institution and its related institutional facilities and also includes extended campus and covers transportation facilities, field trips, internships, study tours, excursions, places used for camps , festivals and sports meets. It also further prescribes the procedure to file a complaint and the punishments to be awarded in case of conviction.

The Institutions have been directed to constitute Internal Complaints Committee with an inbuilt mechanism for gender sensitization against sexual harassment. It mandates that at least one-half of the total members of the ICC shall be women and Persons in senior administrative positions, such as Vice- Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellors, Rectors, Registrar, Deans, Heads of Departments, etc., shall not be members of ICCs in order to ensure autonomy of their functioning. The Inquiry has to be completed within 90 days and the Institution has to take effective action within 30 days after the receipt of recommendation.

According to the Regulations, in exceptional cases, even, relatives, friends, colleagues of the victim can also lodge a complaint on his/her behalf if the person is unable to do so on account of physical or mental incapacity or death.

It has prescribed a full charter for the Institutes expecting them to undertake several activities to raise awareness regarding the issue. It expects the Institute to notify the provisions against sexual harassment and organise training programmes to sensitize and ensure knowledge and awareness of the rights, entitlements and responsibilities under these regulations. The Institute is also expected to act decisively against all gender based violence against students. Most importantly the Institute will now have to include in its prospectus and display prominently at conspicuous places or Notice Boards the penalty and consequences of sexual harassment mechanism put in place for redressal of complaints.

As an Interim measure, an Institution can transfer the complainant or the respondent to minimise the risks involved in contact or interaction and restrain the respondent from reporting on or evaluating the work or performance or tests or examinations of the complainant. In appropriate cases, the respondents can be denied entry into the campus as well.

Upon conviction the Institute may withhold privileges of the student such as access to the library, auditoria, halls of residence, transportation, scholarships, allowances, and identity card; suspension or restriction from entry into the campus for a specific period; expel and strike off name from the rolls of the institution, including denial of readmission, if the offence so warrants. The Institute may also award reformative punishments like mandatory counselling and community service. The aggrieved person is entitled to the payment of compensation.

If however a complaint is found to be false or malicious complaints then the Complainant is liable to be penalized to ensure that the provisions for the protection of employees and students from sexual harassment do not get misused.

The Institute contravening or failing to comply with the obligations and duties laid out in the Regulations may face withdrawal of declaration of fitness to receive grants, removal of name of the university or college from the list maintained by the Commission; withholding any grant allocated to the institution. The Commission may also inform the general public that the institution does not provide for a zero tolerance policy against sexual harassment and may recommend for withdrawal of affiliation, withdrawal of declaration as an institution deemed to be university or University.

EduLegaL View

Good ! A welcome step ! Should have been done earlier in 2013 itself when the principal act was passed.

Distinctively, the Regulation is gender neutral and it recognises that a male student or for that matter a student of third gender can also be a victim of sexual harassment. There has been growing demand to law relating to domestic violence, dowry make gender-neutral. Infact it is a good practice to make gender-neutral law, which propagates more equality, instead of treating a particular class as victim and a particular class as offender.

Read the UGC Regulations