1. What is Mentor India?

Mentor India is a strategic nation building initiative to engage leaders who can guide and mentor students in 900+ Atal Tinkering Labs that Atal Innovation Mission has established across India. We are looking for leaders who can engage on a regular basis in one or more such labs and enable students to experience, learn and practice future skills such as design and computational thinking.

2. What is an Atal Tinkering Lab?

Atal Tinkering Labs are dedicated works spaces where students (Class 6th to Class 12th) learn innovation skills and develop ideas that will go on to transform India. The labs are powered to acquaint students with state-of-the-art equipment such as 3D printers, robotics & electronics development tools, IoT & sensors etc.

The lab activities are designed to spur the spark of creativity, and go beyond regular curriculum and text book learning. The labs will let students explore skills of future such as design and computational thinking, adaptive learning and artificial intelligence.

3. Who is setting up these Atal Tinkering Labs?

NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission, Government of India’s flagship program to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in India, is setting up the Atal Tinkering Labs across India. Atal Innovation Mission has / is in the process of setting up 900+ such labs across India and aims to have 2,000 such labs by end of 2017.

The Atal Tinkering Labs are being established in schools which are passionate about science and innovation – government as well as private. Each selected school is provided a grant-in-aid that includes a one-time establishment cost of Rs. 10 lakh and operational expenses of Rs. 10 lakh for a maximum period of 5 years. Additional support is also provided by creating resources which will guide schools on concepts of tinkering and the key elements of successfully implementing an Atal Tinkering Lab on the ground.

4. Why is Atal Innovation Mission launching Mentor India?

Mentor India is aimed at maximizing the impact of Atal Tinkering Labs, possibly the biggest disruption in formal education globally. We are looking to engage leaders who will nurture and guide the students in the Atal Tinkering Labs. These labs are non-prescriptive by nature, and mentors are expected to be enablers rather than instructors.

5. Who is a mentor?

A mentor, as a part of Mentor India program, is a person / organization / entity who will engage with one or more schools equipped Atal Tinkering Labs on an ongoing basis and provide volunteer services in the form of guest lectures, hands-on training and guidance, support to student projects, guidance in learning opportunities and any other mentoring support as requested by the school

6. What are you looking for in a prospective mentor?

We are looking for corporates / professionals / academicians / students etc. who are keen to contribute to nation building. Some of the attributes that are desirable in a prospective mentor are:

  1. Understand and identify with the impact of Atal Tinkering Labs
  2. Keen to work with the Atal Innovation Mission on a volunteer basis
  3. Believe innovation is key to India’s growth and keen to contribute towards this cause
  4. Comfortable working with students from Class 6th to Class 12th
  5. Background in technology is desirable, but not mandatory. Key is to have an innovative bend of mind, and keenness to learn and guide
  6. Interested in inspiring young impressionable minds

7. What are the proposed areas of mentorship?

We are looking for mentors who can contribute in one or more of the following areas:

  1. Technical Knowhow: building prototypes etc.
  2. Innovation and Design: inculcating solution oriented approach
  3. Inspirational: leadership and self-motivation
  4. Business and Entrepreneurship: encourage ideas and team building
  5. Be a sounding board / guide
  6. Help break stereotypes and biases

8. Do I need to have functional / operational knowledge of the various equipment inside an Atal Tinkering Lab?

Atal Innovation Mission will be selecting multiple mentors from different backgrounds including technology, innovation, business etc. to inspire young students to innovate. We understand that all mentors might not be an expert on the equipment available in the Atal Tinkering Labs, however, they should be aware of the potential of the various technology solutions that can be developed using the Atal Tinkering Lab equipment. They should be able to discuss with students the various problems our Indian society is facing across multiple themes, and motivate students to develop solutions to these community problems. They need to align themselves with the mission of an Atal Tinkering Lab, and are encouraged to go through all the Atal Tinkering Labs related resources available on Atal Innovation Mission website.

Each Atal Tinkering Lab is managed by an Atal Tinkering Lab In-Charge who are being trained with various aspects of these equipment. The Atal Tinkering Lab In-Charge is the primary source of knowledge dissemination on these equipment. Furthermore, the students and Atal Tinkering Lab In-Charge are also provided DIY modules on these equipment.

We are looking for mentors who are keen to learn new ideas and concepts and then guide the students. To this end, Atal Innovation Mission will have a formal induction program, which will include functional training for these equipment, for the mentors before the mentors start engaging with the Atal Tinkering Labs.

9. Will this be an individual or group engagement?

The prospective mentors, at the time of application, will identify if they are applying as an individual or as a part of a group of employees of corporations / institutions that have partnered with Mentor India.

Individual engagement will include regular in-person sessions at the selected Atal Tinkering Lab(s) to work with the students. Group engagement will be driven by the designated point of contact of the partner corporation / institution.

10. What is the expected time commitment from a mentor?

The selected mentors are expected to engage with the selected Atal Tinkering Lab(s) on a regular basis. We expect the selected mentors to spend 1 – 2 hours per week during / after school hours. Furthermore, an ongoing commitment for at least one year with the school is necessary (will typically involve ~40 weeks of academic operations in a year). Selected mentors will be required to sign a commitment document to this effect.

We also expect mentors to interact with the mentors through a portal developed for Mentor India. These interactions could include supporting and reviewing specific innovation projects, support in innovation competitions, and community outreach. We expect a time commitment of ~30 – 40 hours in a year for such interactions.

11. What are the proposed recognition for mentors?

Selected mentors are expected to volunteer their time and services strictly on a pro-bono basis. However, Atal Innovation Mission would like to recognize the work done by mentors through the following proposed recognitions:

  1. Digital certificate of recognition from Atal Innovation Mission
  2. Honour board for top mentors: India wide and at company level
  3. Meet and greet with prominent dignitaries
  4. Breakfast meeting with CEO of NITI Aayog / Mission Director of Atal Innovation Mission
  5. Invitation to Government of India events
  6. Opportunity to experience state-of-the-art equipment in Atal Tinkering Labs

12. Where will the mentoring sessions take place?

The in-person interactions with students will strictly take place inside an Atal Tinkering Labs / school premises only, in presence of an Atal Tinkering Lab In-Charge / designated school teacher. No mentor will be permitted to meet or take any school students outside the school premises without the explicit permission of the school principal and the Atal Tinkering Lab In-Charge.

The interaction between students and mentors through the portal developed for Mentor India will also be moderated / monitored for suitability of content and language. We would discourage selected mentors to connect with students of Atal Tinkering Labs outside the Mentor India recommended communications channels

13. Can I visit an Atal Tinkering Lab before applying for Mentor India?

Atal Innovation Mission would encourage you to visit the Atal Tinkering Labs if you can. However, given the large number of applications expected, Atal Innovation Mission can’t facilitate your visit to these labs

14. How can corporations / institutions get involved with Atal Tinkering Labs and Mentor India?

Atal Innovation Mission is actively engaging with corporations / institutions to work together on Atal Tinkering Labs and Mentor India. Atal Innovation Mission would like corporations / institutions to adopt Atal Tinkering Labs. We have received commitments from several corporations / institutions and have got more than 80 Atal Tinkering Labs already adopted.

Adoption of an Atal Tinkering Lab typically involves the following:

  1. (Optional) Augment basic infrastructure in Atal Tinkering Labs with instruments / facilities / hardware of your choice
  2. Designate a resource person for the Atal Tinkering Labs, who will support the Atal Tinkering Labs In-Charge to make the tinkering lab successful (e.g. teacher training, student workshops etc.)
  3. Manage mentor activities of Atal Tinkering Labs end to end, working directly with Atal Tinkering Labs Advisory Committee in schools
  4. Minimal oversight / supervision from Atal Innovation Mission / NITI Aayog
  5. Mentoring activities done on a recurring basis, with min 8 - 10 hrs per week during / after school hours (on a company wide basis)
  6. Ongoing commitment for 1 – 2 years: ~40 weeks of school

If your corporation / institution would like to partner with Atal Innovation Mission to adopt Atal Tinkering Labs, please reach out to us at md-aim@gov.in with “Adoption of Atal Tinkering Labs" as subject.

15. Can college / university students apply for Mentor India?

We encourage college / university students in their penultimate year of graduation to apply for Mentor India.

16. How do I apply to become a part of Mentor India?

All individual applications for Mentor India will be accepted online.

17. What is the deadline for applying to Mentor India program?

For individuals applying for Mentor India program, the deadline for application is 30 Sep 2017. The application is on a rolling basis, and the preference for selected Atal Tinkering Labs will be allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis. Hence, we encourage the prospective mentors to apply early to ensure they get their choice of Atal Tinkering Labs allocated.

18. What is the selection process for Mentor India?

After the prospective mentors have submitted the application, the Atal Innovation Mission team will review the application, including reference checks. The Atal Innovation Mission team may reach out to the prospective mentor for a follow-up telephonic conversation as well.

19. Why are you asking for two references as part of the application process?

Safety and well-being of the students is paramount to us at Atal Innovation Mission. As such, we want to make sure only the people with right intentions are interacting with these young impressionable minds. We have to ask for reference checks to ensure the suitability of prospective mentors.

20. What happens after I get selected as a mentor for Mentor India?

Once you have been selected as a mentor for Mentor India, and you choose to accept, you will be expected to attend a full-day induction program (in-person / online, exact details to be communicated later).

After the induction, the mentors will be connected with the respective Atal Tinkering Lab In-Charge. The mentors will have to coordinate with the Atal Tinkering Lab In-Charge for the mentoring sessions. We expect the mentoring session to start from 15 October 2017 onwards.

21. Will I be allocated the Atal Tinkering Lab of my choice?

We at Atal Innovation Mission can not guarantee that you will get the Atal Tinkering Lab of your choice. Hence, we ask you to select up to 5 Atal Tinkering Labs of your choice. We will reconfirm allocations with you before we get you started as a mentors.

22. What if I can not commit to Mentor India for one entire year? Can a shorter engagement be planned?

We strongly encourage all prospective mentors to dedicate one year towards this initiative. We believe maximum impact of Atal Tinkering Labs can only be achieved by regular ongoing mentor interactions.

Hence, we typically would not accept applicants who will not be able to dedicate at least a year for Mentor India. However, if you have a strong justification, please do let us know and we will evaluate the applications on a case-by-case basis.