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Move to cultivate scientific mindset

First Atal Tinkering Lab in Meghalaya

Students give a demonstration of their project to Pia Ahuja, zonal president of Army Wives Welfare Association, on Friday. Telegraph picture

Shillong, Oct. 13: The Army Public School here today got Meghalaya's first Atal Tinkering Laboratory. The school will now be part of a countrywide mission to cultivate one million "neoteric innovators".

The laboratory has been set up under the Atal Innovation Mission of the Niti Aayog. It will provide a platform for innovation by fusing young, curious minds with cutting edge technology on the familiar premises of the school.

According to Niti Aayog, the lab is a work space, where young minds can give shape to their ideas using do-it-yourself methods and learn innovation skills.

Children will get a chance to work with tools and equipment that would make them understand the concepts of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

The lab also contains educational and do-it-yourself kits and equipment on science, electronics, robotics, open source micro-controller boards, sensors, 3D printers and computers. Other desirable facilities include meeting rooms and video-conferencing facility.

Students of Army Public School, from Classes VI to XII, will benefit from this laboratory. Further, the lab will also serve as a community outreach programme. Students from nearby communities can also use its facilities and bridge the gap between the school and the communities.

The lab was inaugurated by Pia Ahuja, zonal president of Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA). She congratulated the school and wished the students happy hours of innovative tinkering.

According to a school official, the tinkering lab is not just a laboratory, "but a cauldron in which innovation will be cooked and citizens of the new age are made and fashioned."

As per statistics available with Niti Aayog, 13,005 schools across the country, which includes government, private and local body ones, have applied for setting up of the lab. Of these, around 55 schools are in Meghalaya.

The Centre has set up the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) at Niti Aayog to foster scientific temper and cultivate the spirit of curiosity and innovation among young minds. The mission proposes to support establishment of a network of Atal Tinkering Laboratories in the country.

The objective of the scheme is to foster curiosity, creativity and imagination in young minds and inculcate skills such as design mindset, computational thinking, adaptive learning, physical computing, rapid calculations, measurements and others.

Under the mission, a grant-in-aid, which includes a one-time establishment cost of Rs 10 lakh and operational expenses of Rs 10 lakh for a maximum period of five years to each Atal Tinkering Laboratory, will be provided to the schools.

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