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Atal Tinkering Labs

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Last month NITI AAYOG refloated the Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) scheme. In the current scheme of things, 1,000 schools are being shortlisted for the setting up of Atal Tinkering Labs. and will be given Rs.20 lakhs for the same. Already 457 schools have been selected to receive the grant and their purchases are under way. However 2 weeks ago Niti Aayog gave approval and released another list of 484 schools that had applied earlier for the ATL grant. Being passionate about 3D Printing and the fact that government finally decided to push technology to the grass root level with such zeal, it synergized with our existing work & ethos. We at I Print My Things promote 3D printing in schools and we are into the installation of 3D printing labs. and 3D printing training in educational institutions in Asia.


So to schools, we outlined our regular work and offered assistance in drafting the ATL application, data assimilation, reviewing, mentoring, advising etc. as a purely professional job on best effort basis only with a one-time charge of Rs.15,000/- (travel & stay at actuals) only. The reason we did this was that maximum no. of schools needed to apply in a short span of time (15th August 17’ being the last date), initially there were holidays in schools and the devil is in the details! Basically, it was for hand holding schools, so they could focus on what they are best at, ie running schools and take this load off them.


Initially, the response was dull, but as the earlier dead line of 15th July approached there was increased activity by schools wanting to get on the plane! As a Chief Ideator @ I Print My Things, was looking to value add my offerings. So our ATL proposal started to get more specific & loud. We identified gaps and one such emerged prominently: 3D printing training. This had been overlooked by the Niti Aaayog for unknown reasons. So we offered our 3D printing training services & post training an international certification that remains with the 3D printing training participant, validating her knowledge, boosting her resume / CV and all this along with the free transfer of software, designs & 3D prints. It was exhilarating to know how value could be meaningfully added.


We made schools realize that the comprehensive ATL application got them to assess their strengths and work on their weaknesses, due to its design/layout. In addition, it got them pan India outreach/recognition that they in fact applied & tried. Drawing an analogy from their own teaching lesson in school, “always try never fear failing, failure to try is a sure shot failure”. We emphasized to schools that fielding questions from more aware Delhi NCR parents like, why you did not apply for ATL 20 lakhs grant may be more difficult to answer, than if you applied & tried for the same!


Lastly, in our candid way of working, we openly discussed our conversations with the schools:

  1. No one could assure a school, that if you apply you will get the grant. Persistent schools have got it in their 2nd attempt too.
  2. Not applying for the grant puts schools in a place where there could be so many other schools that are not eligible for varied reasons. It’s best to stand out and portray one’s strengths to Niti Aayog, others and get a pan India recognition of your eligibility for the grant.
  3. Schools that truly will enhance their knowledge & skills are the ones that will go in for lesser no. of packages (options like 3D printing, robotics, internet of things etc). We compared that to an old quote, “do become a Jack of all trades and a master at some.”

So in our constant endeavour to push technology at the grass root level this was a great campaign & initiative. The conversations that we were having with schools, is extremely enlightening and a disclaimer had to be put in place: “We are not representatives of any department, undertaking or commission, our views are personal and based on feedback from schools.” So professional hazard taken care of, we were happy to provide our professional services (application writing / reviewing, mentoring, advising etc as below mentioned earlier) to schools for a very nominal fee that didn’t hurt them either. It was a win win for all.


It’s hard to say if we’ve been successful, but we certainly set a new standard, a new business model for all to emulate. It's long & interesting journey for us and the schools, the more they know about ATL & 3D printing training, the better it is for all. Maximum schools should apply for the ATL grant prior to 15th August 2017 with the maximum help from all.


(Below is the standard pitch associated with all our communiqué, trying to educate potential customers and blow our trumpet hard!)


Our 3D printing industry has disrupted the way we create physical objects. McKinsey Global Institute has estimated that 3d printing could generate an economic impact of $79 billion per year by 2025 with a 28% CAGR. The huge growth rates are a direct result of its applications for prototyping and mass production in a number of industries, thanks to an ever increasing list of 3d printable materials. The World Economic Forum describes it as one of the four pillars of the 4th Industrial Revolution alongside AR, VR & AI, big data, block chains etc. India completely missed the 1st two industrial revolutions (steam & petrol engines) and partially benefitted in the 3rd (electronics/computers). Now can we afford to not, or just partially participate in the 4th Industrial Revolution?


We are pioneers in taking the 3D printing technology to schools. So far we have engaged with schools such as Indian School Muscat, Jayshree Periwal (Jaipur), Pathways School (Baliawas & Aravali), DPS Faridabad, Shri Ram School, DPS, GD Goenka, DAV, Kunskapsskolan International School, Shalom Presidency, Meenakshi Public School, Bloom Public School, Scottish High, Zenith School (Vadodara) etc. 3D Printing is spreading very rapidly in all the fields of manufacturing, designing and product development. It has the power to change design mind sets, promotes experiential learning and supplements robotics too. Post your acceptance (assuming) by Niti Aayog, we will be keen to engage with you in 3D printing training too, as this is an area that has been completely overlooked.


Our Bharat Ratna, Prof. CNR Rao,  has said ‘90% of our educational institutions have an outdated curriculum.’  Only School leader’s like you can make a difference in the coming academic session, by setting up Atal Tinkering Labs, adopting 3D printing, enlightening the students, bringing them closer to what’s the latest, cutting edge and beneficial. An ATL enabled school is a big differentiator over other schools. Incorporating cutting edge technologies also, makes a school truly global, world or an international school. ATL further strengthens your position and takes you further inroads into the 4th Industrial Revolution. We sincerely look forward to helping you setup ATL lab.