Coaching centres shall not enroll students below 16 years of age: Ministry of Education issues Guidelines for Regulation of Coaching Centers 2024

BY | Friday, 19 January, 2024

With the growing number of unregulated private coaching centers in the country in the absence of any laid down policy or regulation, the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education has issued the Guidelines for Regulation of Coaching Centers 2024. Announcing on January 18, in social media platform, X, the Ministry stated that the guidelines has been issued placing the student well-being at the forefront.

The guidelines has been necessitated following instances of coaching centers charging exorbitant fees from students, undue stress on students resulting in students committing suicides, loss of precious lives due to fire and other accidents, and many other malpractices being adopted by these centres.

Grounded in #NEP2020 principles, these guidelines prioritize mental well-being, fair practices, and inclusivity. It’s a step towards creating a learning ecosystem where every student can flourish,” posted the Ministry.

The guidelines stresses on the need for State/UT governments to regulate these centers and refer to legal actions, such as the PIL in the Supreme Court and letters sent to states/UTs.

“It also proposes a model framework for coaching centers and outlines the procedures for registration, renewal, and cancellation of coaching center certificates, along with an appeal process,” informed the Ministry. From reasonable fees to inclusive policies, these guidelines aim to shape a brighter future for learners.

An important feature of the guideline, under the conditions of registration, states that “no coaching centre shall enroll student below 16 years of age or the student enrolment should be only after secondary school examination.” It has also directed the coaching centers not to engage tutors having qualification less than graduation or make misleading promises to parents/students for enrolling them in the coaching center.

Coaching centers have also been mandated to have a website with updated details of the qualification of tutors, courses/curriculum, duration of completion, hostel facilities (if any), and the fees being charged, easy exit policy, fee refund policy, number of students.

Coaching centers are required to apply for registration within three months of implementation of the guidelines.

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Regarding fees, the Ministry mentions that the tuition fees for different courses/curriculum being charged should be fair and reasonable and receipts for the fee charged must be made available. The guidelines also require the coaching center to issue a prospectus mentioning the different courses/curriculum, their duration of completion, number of classes, lectures, tutorials, hostel facilities (if any), and the fees being charged, easy exit policy, fee refund etc.

Another important feature is the refunding policy where the Ministry mandates the center to refund the students within ten days, if they have paid for the course in full and is leaving the course in the middle of the prescribed period.

Infrastructure Requirements

Under the Guidelines, the basic structure of the coaching center, a minimum one square meter area must be allocated for each student during a class / batch. Coaching center buildings has been directed to shall adhere to fire safety codes, building safety codes and other standards. For the assistance of the students, coaching center are also required to have first aid kit and medical assistance/treatment facility.

Full electrified structure, proper ventilation, sufficient lighting arrangements and safe and potable drinking water should be made available for all students and staffs of the Center.

Counselors and Psychologists Support 

Prioritizing the students’ mental well being, the Guidelines encourages Coaching centers to involve counselors and experienced psychologists to counsel and provide psychotherapeutic service to students for the resolution of mental stress and depression.

It has also mandated the centers to establish the mechanism for immediate intervention to provide targeted and sustained assistance to students in distress and stressful situation.

Inclusivity and Accessibility 

The coaching center are directed not to discriminate against any applicant / student on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, descent etc. during the admission and teaching process. Special provisions are expected to be made by the coaching center to encourage greater representation of students from vulnerable communities such as female students, students with disabilities, and students from marginalized groups.

The Ministry further directed the coaching center building, and the surrounding premises to be Divyang-friendly and in compliance with the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

Tutors should also be sensitized regarding learning disabilities and make students with learning disabilities feel comfortable, stated the Guidelines.

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