Sacked law faculty of Unacademy to teach students on YouTube

Unacademy removed Karan Sangwan after his video lecture, asking students to vote for educated candidates in Lok Sabha elections, went viral and invited criticism from politicians & singers

Unacademy law faculty sacked

New Delhi: Sacked law faculty of edtech platform Unacademy, Karan Sangwan on Friday said that he was firm on his statement, urging people to vote for educated candidates in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, and said that he would continue teaching law on YouTube.

Sangwan was sacked by Unacademy on Thursday after his video lecture, in which he appealed to the students to vote for educated candidates, went viral and triggered extensive discussions and criticism on social media. The controversy has sparked response from politicians, singers as well as social media users, who have raised issues concerning free speech, educated legislators and “unbiased knowledge.”

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Sangwan made the appeal while discussing the recently tabled bills in the Lok Sabha by the Centre government, which seek to replace the British-era Indian Penal Code (IPC), Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and the Indian Evidence Act.

Sangwan added that he himself doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry, as he also possesses numerous bare acts, caseloads and notes that he had prepared. “Keep in mind one thing. Next time vote for someone who is well-educated so you don’t have to go through this again. Elect someone who is educated, who understands things. Don’t elect someone who only knows, changing things and changing names. Take a decision judiciously,” he had sad.

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Unacademy is an online education platform that offers courses and lessons for various competitive exams and subjects. It claims to be India’s largest learning platform with over 50 million learners and 150,000 educators.

Karan Sangwan was one of the educators on Unacademy, who used to teach the students on judicial exams and law subjects. He has a degree in law from National Law University (NLU), Shimla, and has over 14,000 followers on Unacademy.

The Controversy

On 14 August 2023, a video of Sangwan went viral on social media, in which he was seen discussing the bills introduced in the Lok Sabha to replace the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure and Indian Evidence Act. He expressed his regret that all the notes he had made on criminal laws became useless as a result of the government’s decision. He then urged the students to “vote for educated candidates” the next time, and not to elect someone who only knows how to change names.

On 17 August 2023, Unacademy co-founder Roman Saini announced on X (formerly known as Twitter) that the company had parted ways with Sangwan, as he was in breach of the Code of Conduct. Saini said that the classroom is not a place to share personal opinions and views, as they can wrongly influence the students.

The decision of Unacademy sparked a controversy and a backlash on social media, with many users accusing the company of being biased, spineless and weak. Some users also called for boycotting and uninstalling Unacademy, using the hashtag #UninstallUnacademy. The hashtag was trending on X with more than 2.74 lakh posts.

Several politicians from opposition parties also slammed Unacademy for removing Sangwan. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted that it is not a crime to appeal to vote for educated candidates, and that illiterate public representatives cannot build a modern India of the 21st century. Congress leader Supriya Shrinate said that it is sad to see such spineless and weak people run an education platform, and alleged that Saini himself had made educational content in favour of the government with political undertones.

The Counter View

The act of Unacademy removing Sangwan for his actions can be seen as a violation of his freedom of expression and academic autonomy. Sangwan did not name or mention any political party or leader in his video, but only expressed his general opinion on the importance of electing educated candidates. He did not incite any violence or hatred against anyone, but only appealed to the students to make their decision properly. His opinion can be considered as relevant and reasonable, given the context of discussing the changes in criminal laws.

The act of Unacademy removing Sangwan for his actions can also be seen as a sign of its lack of transparency and accountability. Unacademy did not provide any clear explanation or evidence on how Sangwan breached the Code of Conduct, or what are the specific rules and regulations that govern the conduct of its educators. It also did not give any opportunity to Sangwan to defend himself or clarify his position before taking the decision. The company did not respond to any queries or criticisms from the media or the public, but only issued a brief statement on X.

The act of Unacademy removing Sangwan for his actions can also be seen as a reflection of its susceptibility to external pressure and influence. Unacademy might have made the decision due to fears of losing market share, reputation, or funding. Influences could also stem from its ideological leanings, differing from Sangwan or its users, or from prevailing social media trends and public opinion, which might be biased or manipulated.

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