Atanu Dey On India's Development

Innumerate Reporting

ExpressIndia.com carries a Press Trust of India report titled “Rise in Number of Indian Students in US.” (Hat tip: Ashish Asgekar.) It is a brief report. Here it is in its entirety.

Washington, April 22: The number of Indian students applying for masters and doctoral studies in various American universities has increased by six per cent in 2006-2007, a latest study has said.

The Council of Graduate Studies has said that Indian students were inclined to opt for largest institutions—the applications by Indian students to the ten largest institutions increased by 22 per cent.

Students from India, along with those from China and South Korea account for the majority, or 53 per cent of all non-US citizen graduate students attending US colleges and universities,the Council said.

Overall, the total number of non-US citizens who applied for admission to master’s and doctoral programs at American colleges and universities rose eight per cent between 2006 and 2007.

This increase compares with an overall gain of 12 per cent from 2005 to 2006 but a decline of five per cent in the 2004-2005 period.

Between 2006 and 2007, the total number of graduate applicants from India was up just six per cent, after a surge of 26 per cent last year, while the number of applications from Korea fell two per cent in 2007 after experiencing a four per cent gain one year earlier.

Applications from China, however, increased 17 per cent this year, nearly matching last year’s 19 per cent gain.

Applications from the Middle East grew nine per cent in 2007 after rising 10 percent in 2006.

What an astonishingly bad piece of reporting. It keeps reporting everything as percentage changes and never even once bothers to inform us what the actual numbers are. The numbers applying for admission rose by 6 percent in 2006-07. OK. But did the actual number go up from 100 to 106, or was it an increase from 1,000,000 to 1,060,000?

A recent study suggests that there is a 100 percent increase in the number of innumerate reporters.

  • http://www.adityaathalye.com Aditya Athalye

    haha nice closing line :)

  • vs

    As one of the numerous who got educated in the US and made it back to India, I am interested in knowing how many actually come back? any idea?

  • http://ike.pigott.name/occam Ike

    Atanu – I was one of the exceptions, graduating with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Political Theory… but also with 40 hours of math and hard sciences.

    Reporters are as a rule innumerate. I used to crack the following line, in my best smarmy anchor voice:

    “A recent survey shows that two out of three newscasters cannot handle simple fractions. That’s almost half.”

  • ram

    anecdotal evidence suggest just the opposite. There are lesser number of indian students interested to come to US for higher studies because of better opportunities in india and also lack of jobs in US after graduating.