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UK MP offers to fund Indian teachers

Keith Vaz, British MP of Indian origin, has declared a Scholarship of 2,500 pounds for teachers in his home state Goa.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2006 11:32 IST

Keith Vaz, a British MP of Indian origin, has launched an educational exchange scheme in memory of his mother that will enable a teacher from his home state of Goa to spend a term teaching at a school in Leicester.

Vaz, MP from Leicester East, has set up the initiative at the Scared Heart Catholic Primary School in Spinney Hills, Leicester. The scheme involves members of the public voting for the teacher who should be awarded the Merlyn Vaz Scholarship online.

Vaz's mother died in 2003. Merlyn taught in both Britain and India. She was Leicester's first female Asian councillor and also the first Goan to be elected.

Vaz, who is currently in India to launch the scholarship, told the Leicester Mercury, "My mother loved Goa and Leicester and she taught in India and Britain. Teaching was her passion and her profession.

"I hope this opportunity provides benefits to both the winning candidate and Sacred Heart School, and that it will promote further good relations between Goa and Leicester," he said.

"We have had three short-listed candidates and I have met them all. They are all dedicated and ambitious women.

"We want members of the public to ask them questions and to vote for them, like a 'teacher idol'. We also want to make an exchange, with a teacher from Leicester going to Goa at the same time."

The scholarship is worth around 2,500 pounds and the winner will get the opportunity to teach at Sacred Heart during the spring term 2007, accommodation and the cost of food and travel expenses.

Gerry Hirst, head of Sacred Heart, said, "We have a lot of children in our school who come from India, and having a teacher from India in school could help us understand better how to connect with the children when they come here.

"We will also be able to share ideas and experiences. They will help us and we will help them. It is a good idea," he said.