Coaching centres cannot enrol students below 16 years and make false promises such as guaranteeing a good rank or marks, the Union Ministry of Education has said.

The ministry issued the new directives in a set of guidelines released on Tuesday to create a legal framework and manage the unregulated growth of private coaching centres.

The notification said that the action has been taken after the government received complaints about a rise in cases of student suicides, fire incidents, lack of facilities in coaching incidents and methodologies of teaching adopted by them.

Citing high competition and academic pressure, the ministry said that coaching centres need to take steps for the mental well-being of students and conduct classes without exerting unnecessary pressure on the students.

“Also, they should establish the mechanism for immediate intervention to provide targeted and sustained assistance to students in distress and stressful situations,” read the guidelines.

The guidelines also said that the coaching centres should not employ tutors who are not graduates or have committed any offence that involves “moral turpitude” and make misleading promises, among other things.

It also directed the coaching centres to ensure that the students are given the prospectus, notes and other materials without any separate fees.

“If the student has paid for the course in full and is leaving the course in the middle of the prescribed period, the student will be refunded from out of the fees deposited earlier for the remaining period, on a pro-rata basis within 10 days,” it said. “If the student is staying in the hostel of the coaching centre, then the hostel fees and mess fee etc. will also be refunded.”

The guidelines said that officials notified by state governments would have to dispose of any complaints filed against the centres. It said that authorities can fine the centres for violation of rules – Rs 25,000 for the first offence, Rs 1 lakh for the second offence and revocation of registration for subsequent offence.

The state government are responsible for monitoring the activities of the coaching centres and checking their eligibility for registration.

“Considering that regulation of +2 level education is the responsibility of State/Union Territory Governments, these institutions are best regulated by the State / UT governments,” the guidelines stated.