This post is originally posted on http://www.thehindu.com
With over half of the Indian Internet population in the age bracket of 18-35, India has raced to the number two spot globally when it comes to absolute volume of search queries related to education on Google Search, according to a recent Google India study.
India was ranked 8 in 2008, and is now behind only to the U.S., reveals a study titled ‘Students on the web’ compiled by Google India.
The study was compiled by combining Google search query patterns and an offline research conducted by TNS Australia on behalf of Google India.
Over 60 per cent Indian students, who have access to Internet, use it as their first source to research for information related to educational courses and institutes, the study reveals.
“With over 60 million Internet user population in India being in age group of 18-35, educational related search queries are exploding on Google. Our core objective behind compiling this study was to understand the impact Internet is having on this young population with regard to education related decision making by the students,” Google India Vice President and Managing Director Rajan Anandan said.
Education related queries on Google in India are growing at over 46 per cent year on year that highlights strong demand for information on institutes and courses that are available in the country.
Out of all education related search queries on Google, over 40 per cent of queries were for higher education courses and institutes.
Search queries from mobile phones have considerably grown showing a growth of over 135 per cent and amounting to over 22 per cent of all education related search queries.
Among the courses being searched for on Google, IT or Vocational accounts for 44 per cent followed by engineering courses (40 per cent) and institutes, postgraduate courses with MBA (16 per cent).
In the offline research, when quizzed on the criteria used for researching, selecting institutes or courses, students highlighted that placements (56 per cent) is the most important criteria for selecting a institute and course, followed by faculty (49 per cent), course content (48 per cent), reputation of the institute (43 per cent) and fees (41 per cent), it points out.
The study also found that students take anywhere close to 5-6 months on an average to research before finalising the institute and course.
In terms of wish list, students highlighted the need for educational institutes to have more mobile friendly websites as over 66 per cent said they use their mobile phones to access the content.
Video content also rated high with the students and they highlighted the need to have more video content on institution websites and other platforms with 46 per cent respondents saying that they choose to watch videos as part of their research.
In terms of type of video content, students also wanted to watch videos on career options or placements (56 per cent), videos of the faculty (44 per cent), videos of existing students and alumni (29 per cent) and videos of classroom sessions (27 per cent) to help them take more informed decisions.