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Indian students caught in the Google web

Last updated on: August 20, 2012 12:56 IST

Indian students caught in the Google web

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Masoom Gupte in Mumbai

If you don't know something, just 'google it'. Two simple words that have replaced the phrase 'search for' in modern day lexicon.

Is it a surprise then that when it comes to researching educational institutions, students who are arguably among the most active and savvy netizens, find this tool indispensable?

Google India's "Student on the Web" study, conducted by TNS Australia on behalf of the company, re-confirms just that.

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Photographs: Kena Betancur/Reuters.

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Indian students caught in the Google web

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The study was compiled by combining Google search query patterns and an offline research. It revealed that in absolute volume terms or the number of education related "searches", India ranks second only to US globally.

And that over 60 per cent Indian students, who have access to internet, use it as their first source to search for information related to educational courses and institutes. And that these searches are growing at over 46 per cent year-on-year.

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Photographs: Reuters.
Tags: , India , US

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Indian students caught in the Google web

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Speaking about the need for the study, Rajan Anandan, vice-president and managing director, Google India, says, "With over 60 million internet user population in India being in age group of 18-35 years, educational related search queries are exploding on Google. Our core objective behind compiling this study was to understand the impact the internet is having on this young population with regard to education related decision making."

Sample this: In volume terms, Indian higher education system is the largest in the world (number of institutes: 646 universities and 33,023 colleges) and the third largest in terms of enrolment (17 million), just behind China and the USA, according to Technopak Advisors' data.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Indian students caught in the Google web

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However, despite this, the gross enrolment ratio (GER) in higher education in India is 16 per cent as compared to the global average of 23 per cent.

The government has set an aggressive target of achieving a GER of 30 per cent by 2020. Couple these statistics with Google's findings and it's stating the obvious.

The other findings of the study reaffirm the usual biases.

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Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
Tags: GER , Google , India

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Indian students caught in the Google web

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For instance, information technology and allied fields as well as engineering have long since enjoyed preferential treatment among students. No surprises that with regard to courses being searched most on Google, IT/vocational (44 per cent) courses and engineering courses (40 per cent) lead the way.

The study does hand out some interesting pointers to interested institutions about how the latter's improved online interface would help attract students.

The students were found to highlight the need for institutes to have more mobile friendly websites with over 66 per cent saying they use their mobile phones to access the net.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Google.
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Video content about institution, placements, faculty etc also rated high with students who stated that it is an integral part of their research and helps them make 'informed decisions'.

No doubt, Google's new study has some interesting cues for potential advertisers. As Anandan says, "With more and more users getting online every day, the internet today is the biggest catchment area for youth and we hope this study will help advertisers realise the potential of the digital medium."  


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
Tags: Google , Anandan

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