Here are the most commonly asked questions regarding setting up an Atal Tinkering Laboratory (ATL) in Schools.
Q1. How to set up the ATL?
Ans. Every school should make note of the following key points while establishing the Atal Tinkering Lab.
Step 1: Developing a comprehensive plan: The key elements of the plan should Include Functional areas (Physical Space and other physical resources), Human Resources, Content to be used in lab, Tools & Materials and finally – integration of ATL sessions in school time table.
Step 2: Creating an Organisational Structure for ATL: Each ATL has to have an advisory body that will monitor the functioning of the ATL as per the AIM – ATL Guidelines. Such a committee – ATL Advisory Committee (AAC) should include:
Step 3: Identifying & setting up the physical space: Applicant schools would be required to put in place the requisite physical infrastructure such as laboratory and workshop facilities, a computer lab with working internet. Other desirable facilities, which include a meeting room and video conferencing facility to chat with experts in real time can also be set up by the schools, if possible. (AS PER THE GRANT DOCUMENT)
Key elements while identifying space for the Lab Location in the school:
The lab should be in / near the main building of the school. The expectation is that it will be visited frequently by the students, teachers and participants of the community hence it shouldnt be in isolation. The Lab should have:
- Proper ventilation
- Storage facilities – drawers, cupboards, storage boxes for tools, etc.
- Power supply – to run instruments, computers, projectors etc.
- Basic infrastructure – like fans, air conditioner if possible, heaters in cold areas, proper lighting, and multiple plug points.
- Additional facilities – it is recommended to have a Wi-Fi zone in the Lab or an internet dongle and routers for connectivity, a wash basin, a water cooler etc.
- Furniture – the lab should have basic furniture i.e. tables and chairs. It is preferred to have light weight chairs which are easy to move and can be handy for flexible seating arrangements. The lab should be able to accommodate 25-30 students at any point in time.
Step 4: Identifying & Allocating Human Resources for the Lab: ATL in-charge will be the key person responsible for the successful functioning of the lab. The objective is to find a person who can connect with the students, inspire them to think out of the box and create a culture of innovation.
Step 5: Procuring Tools & Materials for the Lab: We recommend you to choose wisely and purchase the tools that are necessary, as per the procurement guideline, shared by NITI Aayog.
Q2. Is it necessary to procure all the packages? Which package has to be procured first? Can we buy materials from different vendors? Will the vendors help in setting up the lab? Is It necessary to have Special Wi-Fi/Broadband connection for the ATL Lab?
Ans. Yes, it is necessary to procure all the packages. Up to INR 5 lakh could be utilized for procurement of ATL equipment as per the list approved by the Committee of school Principals in first 6 months of 2017-2018. However, to begin with, schools should start procurement of equipment in small lots and based on the experience gained in the usage, additional kits/components could be procured after 3 months. Please buy an entire package from a particular vendor. It is preferable to purchase all equipment from 1 vendor for ease of maintenance, installation, and usage of all equipment. The grant money cannot be used to pay to vendors for setting up the lab. It is the responsibility of the school to set up the lab. Vendors shall only be providing the equipment for the same. NITI Aayog is also developing an operation manual for all schools which will be shared soon with all schools. Yes, ATLs should have working internet connection
Q3. Can we utilize fund of INR 10 lakh for following apart from instruments (list provided in guidelines), for:
- DIY kit and 3D printer?
- Infrastructure development like furniture, lab interior etc.
- Computer Lab setup specifically for Atal Tinkering Lab
- Meeting room and video conference system
- Also, can we appoint a lab attendant?
Ans. As per the Grant utilization guideline, Grant-in-aid can be utilized for Refurbishment of the ATL in terms of electrical fittings, internet facility, painting procurement of furniture like tables, chairs, storage boxes, printing of banner/board etc. can be undertaken by the schools on a 50:50 cost sharing basis. A maximum of INR1.00 lakh from the grant-in-aid may be utilised for this purpose. Maximum of Rupees One lakh may be used for purchasing laptops and a projector, in case these are not already available in ATL/school. Yes, you can appoint a lab attendant. However, grant-in-aid cannot be utilized for payment of salaries. You can pay token remuneration for lab assistant (one) subject to maximum INR 1000 per month. Schools are advised to check the Grant utilization guideline for more details.
Q4. Can schools purchase the instruments of same specifications from other vendors than approved if prices are lower?
Ans. The final decision with regard to the selection of the vendor for purchasing the equipment and training services resides with the schools. The schools may select vendors outside this suggestive list, provided the quality, equipment specification and price of the vendors match or are better than that of the suggestive list. Schools are suggested to perform their own due diligence in this regard.
Q5. How to utilize Grant-in-Aid for Operation and Maintenance? Will the maintenance of equipment handled by NITI Aayog?
Ans. An amount of INR 10.0 lakh has been provided for each ATL @ INR 2 lakh per year (for a period of 5 years). The O&M cost may be utilized for the following purpose:
- Repair & Maintenance of ATL equipment
- Purchase of consumables/spares
- Part travel reimbursement (max. 50%) for faculty to attend events/meeting/training program organized by AIM
- Organising intra and inter-school competitions, guest lectures, hands-on workshops for students, training workshops for teachers and community outreach
- Payment of token remuneration to ATL-in-charge (one) and lab assistant (one) subject to maximum INR 1000 per month. No, the maintenance of equipment needs to be handled by the schools themselves. NITI Aayog is not responsible for the same. You can use grant-in-aid to buy consumables in case of damaged apparatus. Talk to the vendors before purchasing equipment for their servicing.
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Disclaimer: The above information has been captured from NITI Aayogs website over here. This article is to ease information gathering procedure for the schools.
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