Shashi Tharoor’s book, An Era of Darkness, highlights how the west always blamed India for not being able to catch up with the technological advancements by saying “India missed the bus to the Industrial Revolution”. How and why this happens is a matter of historical facts and opinions, but one thing is for certain: India is all geared up to come forward as a global strength in Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics in the 21st century.
How does India plan to do it?
STEM, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, four of the most important disciplines which help the economy thrive and ensure a healthy society, has been around for quite a long time as far as the global popularity concerned. It may be somewhat new for India as compared to other countries but it has slowly been picking up the pace and the NITI Aayog’s flagship initiative (as they call it), the Atal Innovation Mission, has been playing a major part in it with what is known as the Atal Tinkering Labs.
According to Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog,
The Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) will provide school students with the opportunity to work with tools and equipment, fostering inventiveness. Students will also be able to exchange knowledge and learn from one another through regional and national-level competitions, exhibitions, workshops on problem-solving, designing and fabrication of products.
Atal Labs and the STEM Pedagogy
The Atal Tinkering Labs have been designed to be workspaces for young minds to provide them with an environment that is going to help them shape their ideas through DIY (Do-It-Yourself) lessons and develop the skills of the 21st-century. With STEM as the core target in mind, they promise young and aspiring students an opportunity to work with the necessary gear and apparatus comprising of the latest STEM robotics kits and STEM educational toys to grasp the concepts of STEM. Science, electronics, robotics, open source microcontroller boards, sensors and 3D printers and computers would be at the core of everything in the labs which will push them to think. Students will also be given a chance to interact with their superiors and engage in activities to help them have a proper understanding of STEM.
With these conducive resources available across the peninsula, India is on the verge of creating state of the art infrastructure for creating minds that shall foster critical thinking and problem-solving. With the ability to create, students learn in the best way possible: Learning by doing. With the kind of resources at hand and with the right guidance these labs can be the places where new inventors and innovators will be born.
In a Nutshell
With the Niti Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission and their Atal Tinkering Labs, India is ready to create and bolster its ranks in the domain of engineering and science. STEM is the answer to our questions where the genesis of modern education happens and patient problem solvers arise. India has made its move for STEM, it is now for her people to ensure they make the best of this and take a step forward in the growth of the country.