Nagpur: As the activities for various entrance examinations picks up pace in Nagpur, series of coaching classes are busy making strategies to draw maximum number of students to their property and make the ‘maximum kill’. However this time their move is going to be little tough as Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) is closely observing the advertisements made by these coaching classes regarding false claims, blatant misuse of photos of ‘toppers’, and minimum-guarantee marks to woo candidates. ASCI has already listed 12 such institutes in Mumbai, of which, few are running their branches in Nagpur too.
Season for ‘fresh catch’
The coaching season usually gains momentum by the end of February and the fresh battle to grab maximum new admissions flares up among the so called top institutes. The coaching classes go on advertisement blitzkrieg in newspapers and use all digital means to exploit the time, termed as critical for getting admissions. “Once the admission is done, the students are usually tapped into the institute for as long as 2 years and so it is considered as the crucial time as once a student makes the choice then they (coaching classes) would have to wait for another season. Most of these institutes, mainly those offering coaching for IIT-JEE, Medical entrance exam and class X to XII, explore and exploit every means in the books to cash on the ‘fresh catch’ of the season. No matter if that means misleading the students with false claims, the prime purpose remains the numbers here,” said a lecturer at Nagpur’s prominent college.
AIR ranking confuses students
One of the most prominent advertising tricks that many of the coaching classes often use in their bigger sized newspaper advertisements is their misleading presentation of rankings. “Last year I took admission in Resonance coaching classes, just under similar interpretation. Instead of Nagpur rankings these people put up their All India figures which often confuses many of the students like me and they eventually get trapped into their lure of ‘guaranteed results’,” said a student on condition of anonymity. Sources said not only Resonance but few other names like TIME, Momentum, Motion and others apply the same tactics. Often the toppers are bought into getting photo session to attract the crowd, the source added.
ASCI tightens noose
Last year in Nagpur, some institutes, mainly Resonance Motion wrongly claimed that their students had secured top ranks, even displaying their photographs and scores prominently in the adverts. In Mumbai too similar thing happened. When ASCI approached them, they were unable to substantiate the claim. Others claimed they had teachers who went to Ivy League universities (read Harvard) or received major grants, like the Fulbright scholarship. Again, these claims were unsubstantiated.
List of erring institutes
Shockingly, even well known centres have resorted to such underhanded tricks to woo students. ASCI has now released a list of the offending institutes, including TIME Institute, Cetking Education, CLAT Possible and IMS Learning Resources, among others. Since the council is a self-regulatory body for the advertising sector, it cannot take any punitive action, but can only suggest changes. It may be mentioned that IIT Point has also opened its branch in Mumbai.
Complaints under scanner
Shweta Purandare, ASCI secretary general, said, “Inquiries are conducted following complaints by individuals and our observation of misleading adverts. The concerned advertisers or companies are given time to respond to the complaints raised, and if they are not able to establish their claims, they are declared to be giving misleading information. Most of the times, advertisers take back the claims by making required changes, else the complaints are forwarded to concerned authorities in the government.”