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Published on February 3rd, 2017 | by Raja Sekhar Upputuri

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Atal Innovation Mission Tinkering Labs

Niti Aayog has launched Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. The objective of this mission is to serve as a platform for promotion of world class innovation hubs, grand challenges, start-up businesses and other self employment activities, particularly in technology driven areas.

As part of this Atal Innovation Mission, Government of India has launched Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) concept wherein various middle and high schools are equipped with maker spaces to promote the tinkering / product innovation spirit among Indian kids. World over, this maker movement is very popular in schools. In many countries, school children work with various tools like 3D printers, Laser cutters, robotics and so on to create top notch functional objects like smart watches. In India, such spirit and need is sorely lacking. Parents aren’t demanding the schools for such facilities and so schools aren’t providing those facilities.

 

Understanding the need for such tinkering labs and with a vision to “Cultivate one million children in India as neoteric innovators”, Atal Innovation Mission is establishing Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) in schools across India. The objective of this scheme is to foster curiosity, creativity and imagination in young minds and inculcate skills such as design mindset, computational thinking, adaptive learning, physical computing etc.

Objective

The objective of this scheme is to foster curiosity, creativity and imagination in young minds and inculcate skills such as design mind-set, computational thinking, adaptive learning, physical computing etc. Young children will get a chance to work with tools and equipment to understand what, how and why aspects of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

Key Features of Atal Tinkering Labs

Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) is a work space where young minds can give shape to their ideas through hands on do-it-yourself mode; and learn innovation skills. Young children will get a chance to work with tools and equipment to understand the concepts of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). ATL would contain educational and learning ‘do it yourself’ kits and equipment on – science, electronics, robotics, open source micro controller boards, sensors and 3D printers and computers. Other desirable facilities include meeting rooms and video conferencing facility.

In order to foster inventiveness among students, ATL can conduct different activities ranging from regional and national level competitions, exhibitions, workshops on problem solving, designing and fabrication of products, lecture series etc. at periodic intervals.

ATLs can be established in schools (minimum Grade VI – X) managed by Government, local body or private trusts/society. Minimum 25% of the ATLs would be set up in schools managed by Government (Central / States)

Financial Support

The applicant schools would be provided financial support in the form of Grant-in-aid for a maximum period of 5 years.

Key aspects of funding ATLs in schools:

  • One time establishment charge of up to Rs. 10.0 lakh would be provided for each ATL in the first year for instruments, equipment like do-it-yourself kits, 3D printer, etc. An illustrative list of equipment and kits is at Annex IV. A checklist of mandatory equipment and other infrastructure would be communicated to selected schools. The schools will procure equipment and kits at their end, however the AIM will fix their rates
  • An amount of Rs. 10.0 lakh would be provided for each ATL over a maximum period of 5 years for operation of ATLs, maintenance of equipment, purchase of consumables, organising popular science lecture series and other scientific activities, competitions and payment of honorariums to the faculty and mentors involved.

Contributions from philanthropic and other institutions and under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) would be encouraged for financing / upgrading ATLs. Local Industry / Institution will be encouraged to support the initiative by creating subject/domain specific exhibits/tinkering laboratory facilities.

Infrastructure Required

The applicant school would have to provide at least 1,500 sq. ft. of built up space. Applicant schools from hilly and island states would have to provide at-least 1,000 sq. ft. of built up space. The existing facilities for meeting rooms and video conferencing among others can be used to supplement the laboratory space.

The program of establishment of ATLs across the country would be handled by a National Coordinator (NC) in AIM Directorate.

Applicant schools intending to establish ATLs may visit http://www.niti.gov.in and submit their application online to the Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog. The prescribed application formats are at Annex III. Necessary documents can also be uploaded online.

The applications would be evaluated based on certain selection criteria.

Short listed schools will be invited to participate in an Innovation Contest which will be informed by AIM. Each school will form groups of maximum 3 students and send one entry for the contest. The entries will be judged on the basis of following parameters:

  • Novelty of innovation in identified areas
  • Clarity of expression
  • Demonstration
  • Potential impact

For detailed information on the eligibility criteria and terms & conditions, click here

We at think3D can set up tinkering labs across various schools in India. If you want us to set up the tinkering labs in your school, please contact us 040 3091 1007 or email us at info@think3d.in

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