Eggs in Mid-Day Meals: Parents in Karnataka pull kids from school fearing 'bad influence'

The education department has stayed firm on its decision to provide eggs in Mid-Day Meals in Karnataka to deal with the malnutrition crisis
Representative Image | (Pic: Express illustrations)
Representative Image | (Pic: Express illustrations)

At least three parents in Koppal and Ballari districts of Karnataka have withdrawn their kids from school in protest against the introduction of eggs in the Mid-Day Meals. The parents have claimed that their children may be "influenced by others" and start eating eggs themselves. They have enrolled the kids in private schools. 

However, the Education Department stands firm in its decision to continue the provision of eggs and bananas in Mid-Day Meals in order to tackle malnutrition in the state. 

"A few incidents have come to our notice that parents are demanding leaving certificates to join their wards to private schools. It's a mark of protest by the members of an organisation who have been opposing the introduction of eggs into Mid-Day Meal schemes. All the schools have prepared the list of egg eating and banana eating students, and according to the list, food is provided. There is no question of influence," said an Education Department official from Ballari.

The state government had recently announced plans to provide eggs and bananas for school children to address the malnutrition issue in northern Karnataka. While the move of the government was welcomed by many, select organisations, including Lingayat seers, went on a protest in Bidar, Koppal and Ballari demanding a rollback of eggs, and asking the authorities to instead look for protein in vegetarian food.

A video of a schoolgirl from Gangavati, where she is seen telling these seers that it is the children's right to eat eggs if they want to, went viral. There are also reports that attendance in government schools in the Kalyana Karnataka region has improved after the introduction of eggs and bananas. Education activists state that the government must talk to protesting organisations so that the children do not suffer. There have been instances where egg-consuming children were made to sit separately from those eating bananas in some schools.

"Earlier all the kids ate their lunch together. But now after the introduction of eggs some schools in Koppal taluk are bringing differences between the children. The kids must be made aware of the different food habits of children," the activist added.

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