Educational entities in India are now required to prioritise the mental and physical well-being of students, according to updated guidelines by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). The voluntary self-regulatory organisation has introduced these norms for educational institutions, including Universities, Colleges, Schools, Coaching Classes, and ed-tech platforms, in order to promote responsible advertising practices.
The move comes as a response to a recent report highlighting the Education sector as one of the major violators of advertising guidelines in recent years. The ASCI revealed that classical education ranked second on the list, accounting for 13.8% of total ads that failed to comply with their guidelines.
Under the revised guidelines, educational advertisers are now prohibited from stereotyping students based on gender or appearance. Furthermore, portraying students with low scores as failures or unsuccessful is no longer permitted. The ASCI emphasises the importance of avoiding advertisements that normalise unhealthy practices, such as students sacrificing sleep or meals for study.
Moreover, the guidelines caution against depicting students with low scores as demotivated, depressed, or unappreciated by their peers or family. Advertisements should not create a false sense of urgency or fear of missing out, as this can heighten student or parental anxiety.
To combat gender stereotypes, advertisers are advised against associating certain subjects exclusively with one gender. While featuring students of any gender is acceptable, the guidelines emphasise presenting an unbiased view of academic success.
The Indian advertising industry is expected to witness substantial growth, with a projected 15.5% increase in ad spends, amounting to approximately ₹20,000 crore compared to 2022. The industry is anticipated to reach a valuation of ₹1.46 lakh crore, driven by a 20% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in digital spends, as reported by GroupM.
With these revised guidelines, the ASCI aims to create a more responsible and student-centric advertising environment in the education sector. By prioritising student well-being, the Industry can contribute to fostering a healthier and more balanced approach to education.