Byju targeting students, forcing parents to buy course: NCPCR

Byju targeting students, forcing parents to buy course: NCPCR

NCPCR has said the commission has launched an action against Byju and will send a report to the government if necessary.

Byju is feeling the heat from the parents of many young users, forcing government agencies to step in. The National Commission for the Protection of Children's Rights has revealed that the company has been targeting first-generation students, forcing parents to buy courses and, in some cases, buying their phone numbers. Priyank Kanoongo, president of the NCPCR, told the ANI news agency that the body has taken action and will send a report to the government. The commission also summoned Byju CEO Byju Raveendran on December 23 over allegations of hard-to-sell courses and cheating students.

Speaking to the news agency, Kanoongo said: "We came to know how Byju's buying phone numbers of children and their parents, rigorously following them and threatening them that their future will be ruined. They're targeting first-generation learners. We'll initiate action and if need be will make a report and write to govt."

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Byju was multiplying in India, and the platform offered various courses to students in different parts of the country. Through a series of acquisitions, the company also expanded its portfolio. However, in recent months several publications have spoken with some parents whose children are learning about courses from the platform. The company is also under financial pressure and recently laid off 5 per cent of the workforce.

The Context (powered by the Thomson Reuters Foundation) spoke to 22 Byju customers, several from low-income households, and learned that families have been "aggressively attacked by vendors, and some have been forced to pay for courses." Some families were also "tricked into taking out loans and ultimately ran out of money."

Additionally, the report adds that "Byju's staff took advantage of a desire to provide the best education for their children and encroached on their privacy by ambushing them in public, pressuring them at home, or secretly collecting their data."

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