Students in India are getting hands-on with technology thanks to the rollout of STEM laboratories (science, technology, engineering, and math) in districts throughout the country. The labs, dubbed  “Atal Tinkering Labs,” provide interactive STEM and space education for kids.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), India’s national space agency, has agreed to adopt 100 tinkering labs from Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog, an initiative that aims to foster innovation and entrepreneurship across India. Atal Tinkering labs contain do-it-yourself kits and tools for “science, electronics, robotics, open source microcontroller boards, sensors and 3D printers and computers,” according to the AIM website. As part of the collaboration, ISRO scientists and researchers will visit the labs to coach and mentor students.

“I am extremely elated that different departments and ministries of the Government of India are working in synergy to create an ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’,” NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Dr. Rajiv Kumar said during a recent virtual meeting between the organizations. (“Aatmanirbhar Bharat” translates to “self-reliant India.”) “The collaboration between NITI Aayog and Indian Space Research Organization is one of the prime examples of such effort.”

He added: “This is a great opportunity for our young budding space researchers and astronauts to learn from the best minds of our country, and become living inspirations for their school, families and local communities.” 

To date, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog has created more than 7,000 tinkering labs throughout India that reach over 3 million students in grades 6-12.

“This collaboration with ISRO will add great impetus to the opportunities provided by ATLs to young school students to learn in space technologies and innovate for the country,” Ramanathan Ramanan, Mission Director, Atal Innovation Mission, said during the virtual meeting. “By providing access to the latest technologies, it not only aligns with the vision of the NEP 2020 [National Education Policy 2020] but also paves the way for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat.”