In an attempt to promote STEM, Space Technology and Space Education amongst school students ISRO has adopted 45 Atal Tinkering Labs across India in phase 1 of the Atal Innovation Mission on 11 January, 2021. ISRO has announced that it will be adopting 55 more such labs soon. This decision was announced by Department of Space and Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog in an online event.

The online event was graced with the presence of CEO, NITI Aayog – Shri Amtiabh Kant; Secretary, DOS – Dr K Sivan; Mission Director, AIM – Shri Ramanan; Director, Capacity Building Program Office, ISRO HQ – DR P V Venkitakrishnan and a video message from Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog – Dr Rajiv Kumar.

According to Atal Innovation Mission 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 microcontroller boards, sensors and 3D printers and computers. Other desirable facilities include meeting rooms and video conferencing facility.”

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Scientists and engineers from ISRO centers, in close coordination with Capacity Building Program Office, ISRO Headquarters will be actively mentoring the children in these ATLs. It was also announced that the children from these established ATLs will also be invited to witness future launches from Sriharikota.

The 45 Atal Tinkering Labs that have been adopted by DOS till yet are situated in Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala and one is located in Uttrakhand. The eligibility for schools to be adopted to establish an ATL include- minimum Grade from VI – X and it should be managed by Government, local body or private trusts/society. AIM will provide grant-in-aid of Rs. 20 Lakh to each school for the set-up of an ATL.

AIM and NITI Aayog also launched a new edition of Atal Tinkering Lab Handbook 2.0 on 12th January which coincides the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda and is also celebrated as National Youth Day. 7000 ATLs have been established across the country so far enabling over 3 Million+ students between Grade VI to Grade XII acquire a problem solving, tinkering and innovative mindset.