New advertising guidelines for private schools

SINGAPORE - Private schools here will now have to adhere to specific guidelines on advertising, based on a new code issued by the Council for Private Education (CPE) today.

Under the advertising code, superlatives like "No. 1" and "100 per cent student satisfaction" will not be allowed, when the claim cannot be substantiated. Photographs advertising campus facilities must also be verified to be taken on their premises.

The code will take effect on July 9 this year.

In a statement from the CPE, it said the advertising code establishes "clear ground rules for responsible and truthful advertising by private education institutions (PEIs)", which will serve to protect consumers against misleading advertisements.

The code will specify advertising requirements and code of conduct for private schools when promoting their courses and other education services.

These include being able to substantiate claims made in the advertisements, truthful representation of their courses, and they must not be found to exploit the lack of experience or knowledge of potential students.

The code will apply to all types of advertisements and commercial communications such as brochures, pamphlets, posters and banners.

According to the CPE, areas where misleading advertising has been observed include information on course fees, claims about the school, and information on courses.

Said Mr Henry Heng, Chief Executive Officer of the CPE, "The advertising code clarifies the mandatory requirements relating to advertising, and provides a set of guidelines that will help PEIs to be more factually accurate and responsible in the claims that they make in their advertisements. Ultimately, our aim is to ensure that students and prospective students are given accurate information upon which they can then make informed decisions."

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