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Atal Tinkering Labs in schools powered by ISRO are encouraging space education

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The Times Of India
24th May, 2022 15:27 IST

Government approval on the continuation of the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) till March 2023 will encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in schools.


Started in 2016 by NITI Aayog , Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) are running in over 9,600 schools across the country, where students of class VI to XII learn through practical methods. At some selected ATLs, a special focus is given to space education, technology and inculcating research aptitude among these young students. The Indian Space Research Organisation ( ISRO ) in 2021, collaborated with schools for taking the crucial role of a stable mentor to these students.


Stressing on space science


Deepali Upadhyay, AIM programme director says learning space science and technology is important for school students. “Currently, close to 40, 000 are students enrolled at 100 ATLs that are adopted by ISRO. Based on their projects or solution-oriented technological device, students are being mentored to develop devices and purposeful innovation in this sector,” says Upadhyay.


The mentoring by the ISRO scientists will be an ongoing process to develop the ecosystem of innovation at the school level. “Students will grow in an environment where experimenting inside a space module and building vital components of a spacecraft will be a routine for students,” she adds.


Participation and performance



Talent is not about going to a school, but more about learning in the right environment, says Gyan Raj, Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) and ATL-in-charge at a private school in Jharkhand. “The concept of imparting practical teaching to ATL students in the rural belt is important as this motivates school students to deal with grassroot problems,” says Raj.


Raj focuses on spotting and grooming the raw talent from a pool of nearly 500 students enrolled at Raj International School , Nagri, Ranchi. “Innovative Ideas of students will shape the future of technology and they will efficiently solve digital age space technology problems.”


Rural school students have a greater zeal to participate and innovate than the students based in the metros, says Upadhyay. “The ATL schools in Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, have come up with innovative ideas to solve local problems. Students went on to design and develop space-technology devices or their prototypes including many other related STEM products,” adds Upadhyay underlining how girls are being encouraged in the schools to come up with new ideas.


Future of learning


The students have developed 20 prototypes, which solve the real-world problems faced in villages. The students have created water battery, water taps for the physically challenged, bio pots, micro washing machines, bamboo straws, fruit plucker, electric plough, among others.

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