After the office of UT adviser, Manoj Parida, asked the education department of Chandigarh to issue an advisory to all schools in the city for protection of information and data of students and their parents, the district education officer wrote to schools on Wednesday.
The action of UT administration comes days after a Hindustan Times investigation had highlighted how the data of around 7,000 students from 26 different schools of tricity was up for sale at ₹4 per child.
The adviser wrote to the education secretary on January 8, 2020, two days after a parent made a complaint in this regard.
HT had found that in Sector 34, around 14 to 15 men employed by various coaching centres for marketing had access to the data of students collected from various schools including their names, class, roll numbers and contact number of parents.
The data is sold at a rate of ₹ 4 to ₹ 6 per child which is bought by various agencies for marketing purposes. The total data is sold for ₹ 28,000.
Parida in his letter highlighted that “Sharing data of school students and their parents is an ‘unfair trade practice’ under the new Consumer Protection Act, 2019 and is also illegal under other laws of India and even the United Nations.”
“The name, class, roll number, name of school and details of parents including their incomes and contact numbers are given to the school authorities for a specific purpose and they are under legal obligation to not to disclose the same to anybody unless specified by law. However, it has been noted that the data of students and parents are being sold and shared with coaching centres,” the letter states.
The letter further highlighted that this “also infringes the right to privacy under the Constitution. The letter states that this sharing of data also violates the principle of data privacy protection of the United Nations.”
The adviser reiterated that “due to such violation by schools, every state and UT must constitute a decentralised grievance redressal mechanism as it is mandatory and the same must be published as per the guidelines of Ministry of Human Resource and Development.”
It added the government of India and appellate authorities are to be notified If the committee doesn’t work.
Instructing the education department, he wrote, “Convening the personal information of students and their parents will be viewed very seriously and action in accordance to the law will be taken against the school management which includes a heavy compensation apart from action against the criminal law.”
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