Published: 24th February 2017
Stephen Fleming talks up studying in Kiwi land to India's best
The Pune Supergiants coach and former New Zealand cricket captain has picked up where John Wright left off — selling NZ universities to Indian students
On the field, former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming was a subdued force but a force just the same. Therefore, we are not surprised when he says his favourite Indian cricketer is Rahul Dravid. The former Chennai Super Kings' coach, who retired in 2008, has been batting for his country for the last three years again, but on a different field.
As the brand ambassador of Education New Zealand, the 44-year-old sportsman says that it's all about putting forth an opportunity one cannot refuse, as we sit down to talk at Kiwi Mastermind India, a quiz contest testing undergraduate and postgraduate students’ knowledge of New Zealand and its people at IIT Madras. "There is a real thirst for education in India where families are motivated to give their children proper education. So, all we do is put together a different proposition when compared to America and Europe, which have been the traditional choices," says Fleming.
Flem Factor: Fleming is as much at ease speaking at IIM as he is at coaching in the IPL
The Christchurch-born cricketer has always highlighted three advantages of studying in New Zealand - safety, quality of education, and education in life. We probe him on the last aspect and he explains, "Sometimes, we can get caught up in the institution. It can get too one-dimensional. Whereas, New Zealand is a place one can experience things away from the classroom, which bring in a balance in life. You can miss out if you have your head in a book all the time."
From a middling 12,000 students studying in New Zealand six years ago, the number shot up to 20,000 for the academic year 2013-14. There has been a more than healthy rise of about 15 percent, in the number of applications from Indian students
But what about Indian education is a deterrent, which New Zealand can make up for? "Competition! There are so many students competing for a certain number of spots. Back in my country, there is competition but it's more relaxed, striking the balance I was talking about earlier. The classrooms aren't full, there are ample job opportunities, and there is space to explore who you want to be."
Sip of Life: Fleming in an earlier life, at the MAC Stadium in Chennai | D Sampath Kumar
But what scores for the Land of the Long White Cloud is its quality of life, feels Fleming. "The country is beautiful and welcoming and we live by our slogan 'Open spaces, open hearts, and open minds'. You will experience, what I think, is one of the world's most beautiful countries," he smiles and in that smile we see a probable promise the country holds.