Tinkering time!

How Government of India is promoting creative learning and digital literacy in schools

The Government of India has recognized the need for encouraging innovation at an early stage in schools and colleges and supporting them with various schemes and policies in order to create more jobs in the country. The Atal Innovation Mission – brainchild of NITI Aayog is one of those schemes. AIM runs multiple programs such as Atal Tinkering labs (ATL), Atal Incubation Centres (AIC) and Atal Community Innovation Centers (ACIC) to encourage innovation.

The Office of Science and Innovation along with the Ambassador of Sweden to India H.E. Klas Molin visited an Atal Tinkering Lab at one of the Delhi-based schools. You may ask, what is an ATL?

Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs) are established in school across India with a vision to ‘Cultivate one Million children in India as Neoteric Innovators.’. 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.

ATLs under the Atal Innovation Mission, is based on the philosophy that incentives and prize awards are a great beginning to create an exponential wave of innovation and entrepreneurship amongst school children. ATL is a play workspace fitted with state-of-the-art technologies like 3D printers, robotics, sensor technology kits, Internet of things (IoT), miniaturized electronics to stimulate innovation among students of 10 to 17 years. It primarily aims to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in schools, universities, and industry. The lab helps students find solutions by exploring and experiencing design thinking and innovation, a do-it-yourself approach etc. It is based on the philosophy of incentivising to create an exponential wave of innovation and entrepreneurship amongst school children.

In December 2017, AIM had selected additional 1,500 schools across the country for setting up ATLs programme. Now, the number of labs has gone over 2000. The govt aims to take the number to 30,000.

Technology has the power to create a level playing field for everyone who has a story to tell. During our time at the ATL, we saw firsthand how accessible technology can foster the scientific temper and innovation mindset among students. It was thrilling to watch young students showcasing their prototypes with utmost confidence and grit. It was a great experience to informally interact with the students and teachers, learn about their aspirations of life, to tell them a bit about Swedish education system. There were a lot of questions about Sweden as a study destination as well as about Alfred Nobel!

Sweden and India are committed to deliver the Sweden India Innovation Partnership. We are deepening that commitment through our engagement with NITI Aayog and AIM and the youth – our future!