It was different kind of Oppn for DVS

It was different kind of Oppn for DVS

Children floor Gowda at interaction organised in Vidhana Soudha

Anees outlined the need to have nutritious food at the anganwadis and not allow teachers to actually sell the food outside. He also suggested that officials go to the anganwadis without announcing their visits, so that they can realise the true intention of the operations at the child centres.

He strongly advocated the need to have better teaching methods through creative means and not just by rote. The chief minister, who was completely taken aback by the articulate child, immediately said he would take the advice and write to the anganwadis and to the officials to implement his suggestions.

The surprises thrown by the children were many, at the interaction organised by the Karnataka Child Rights Observatory, a network of organisations and individuals working to uphold child rights.

About 80 children from 18 districts, who were chosen through the child parliament process, eagerly waited to inform and question the chief minister about the problems faced by them and hear what the government was willing to do about it.

Against discrimination
Several of the questions raised by the children concerned the treatment meted out to students who are HIV positive and the discrimination faced by them. While answering a question by Divya from Tumkur, the chief minister promised to consider separate schools for the HIV positive.

Before he could complete his sentence, a boy from Kanakapura shot out: “You want separate schools for us? Is it not discriminatory? I am HIV positive and I have been thrown out of my school. Should you not have a better solution?”

A defensive chief minister, who realised his mistake, pacified the boy with a vague, “I will send a circular to all the schools to see that such discrimination does not take place.”
Other children also stressed the need to deal with discrimination, for free ART (antiretroviral drug) treatment, hostel facilities for such students, the need to teach children about the virus and not skip the topic as teachers usually tend to do. The Chief Minister, at this point, was unable to handle the barrage of queries and the children who would not take a “I will look into it” for an answer.  He asked them to move on to the next topic.

Children outlined the need to have continuous supply of power to rural areas, menace of street dogs which created problems for children going to school, the need to have school buses for children, need for free medical check-ups at schools, toilets for girls in schools and the need to eliminate child trafficking, child labour and child marriage. The problems faced by disabled children from access to their classrooms, buses and toilets to the difficulty in availing honorariums given by the government were put forward for consideration.

‘Free bicycles, really?’
The chief minister was appalled when Vinayaka, a boy studying at CES School in Challageri of Haveri district, revealed how boys who wanted to get bicycles under the government scheme had to pay Rs 800 per cycle, when they were supposed to get it for free.

“We do have bicycles, but they are charging Rs 800 for the cycle. What do we do about that?” he questioned.

This immediately led to a furore in the room. Gowda promised to look into the matter immediately.