“The government stresses on education up to Class 10. But, what about after that? So many children stop studying soon after finishing Class 10. The government should also ensure that the students passing out of government colleges get jobs,” said 13-year-old Bheemappa, looking up from a piece of paper, when asked what his demands were from the government.
Asked about his other demands, the student from Raichur, who is in the city to participate in the State-level child rights meet organised by the Karnataka Child Rights Observatory, Bheemappa says: “There are many disabled children in our district. There are 25 of them in one village alone, and are all out of school. In my school, we have toilets, drinking water and a big playground. But we don’t have water to wash hands. The condition of roads is bad.”
This was a practice session for Bheemappa for Friday’s children’s parliament where he will present his views before Women and Child Development Minister Umashree and Primary and Secondary Education Minister Kimmane Ratnakar, among others.
Beginning Wednesday, a two-day workshop is being held for 70-odd children participating in the meet from 26 districts in the State. All their questions will be consolidated and 20 children will represent them on Friday.
N.L. Narendra Babu, former MLA, stressed on the need for more platforms for children to voice their concerns and demands.
Pointing out that allocation of funds for education was not enough and the government had to ensure that it is reaching the children, Veeranna Mattikatti, MLC, said only a section of rich, urban children had access to good education.
Asked about the implementation of the Right to Education Act for the coming academic year, H. Umesh Aradhya, chairman, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said schools had been asked to prioritise admissions based on the income limit of the students’ families.