As you enter PCKG Government Higher Secondary School in Chennai, you feel like you’ve stepped back in time, about 75 years ago to be more precise. Look at it from the outside, its narrow verandas and towering blocks, and one might mistake the grey buildings for another old school frozen in time. But looks are deceiving.
The school is part of the Atal Tinkering Lab (ATL) initiative, and you witness a whole new world filled with technology and innovation as you walk deeper down the corridors.
ATL is an initiative by Niti Aayog that aims to nurture scientific temper and imbibe a curiosity for innovation in students. Government, private and local body schools can apply for funding. Students from classes 6 to 10 get hands-on training in science, technology, engineering and math. The laboratory model looks at exploring problem solving prototypes across fields such as health, sanitation, and transportation, apart from serving sustainable development goals.
PCKG was one of the first schools in Chennai to set up the ATL lab. It has as many as 1,500 students between classes 6 and 12 visiting it regularly. It’s difficult to miss the excitement on the faces of P Jayachandran, class 12, and J Pradeep Kumar J, class 10, as they discuss ideas. They have been selected for the National Bal Shree Honour that awards young creative minds. Pradeep says that his constant engagement with experiments and ideas at the lab made it easier for him to crack the on-spot challenge of creating a water cleaning device.
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