Children from the Children's Comenius University replaced the duly elected MPs in their seats in the house, in order to interrogate the cabinet members at a special Question Time on August 28.
Parliament's Speaker Andrej Danko (SNS), Defence Minister Peter Gajdoš (SNS nominee), Finance Minister Peter Kažimír (Smer), Health Minister Tomáš Drucker (Smer nominee) and the Transport Ministry's State Secretary Viktor Stromček (Smer) were present in parliament to answer the children's questions.
The young 'students' prepared more than 30 questions for ministers, which mainly concerned economic, health and transport issues. A boy called Bastian wanted to know why Slovakia decided to expand the Government fleet by buying an Airbus A-319 and not another type of aircraft.
Stromček replied that this type of plane represented the most advantageous deal. He added that the machine is manufactured within the EU and that the maintenance costs are incomparably lower than for other aircraft.
A boy named Michal asked why he has to pay for a ticket when he arrives late at the station, when trains should be for free for students. He was interested in whether or not this counts as discrimination when trains have such a low capacity.
Stromček explained that “free-travelers” are not the only passengers on the trains.
“Therefore we have to set limits. When free-travelling places run out, the capacity is offered to another passenger,” he explained as quoted by Sme daily, while recommending that journeys be planned in advance.
“Nothing is free in life. If you are not on time and you have to pay, there is nothing discriminatory about that,” opined Kažimír, as quoted by Sme. He reminded that the operation of trains is financed by the railway company from the money of tax-payers - their parents.
A girl who introduced herself as Petra asked the parliamentary chairman whether MPs have to take an IQ test prior to taking up their jobs in parliament. She also wanted to know how Danko deals with criticism and hate-fuelled comments on the internet.
"For example, a sentence, I quote, 'Mr. Danko, how does it feel to be the captain of the ship called Slovakia, which is gradually sinking under your leadership?'," the girl asked as quoted by the TASR newswire. Danko replied that he takes such criticism with a smile. He added that when a person applies for an MP post, he or she obviously doesn't have to take an IQ test.
The Parliament's Speaker further noted that children should learn how to receive information in a comprehensive way.
"It's not enough to read one message, or check information only on Facebook, it's necessary to follow other media, too," said Danko, as quoted by TASR, stressing that children should not believe everything they see on social networks and that they should form their own opinions.