Ministry of Education’s Innovation Cell
All India Council for Technical Education
Indian Institute of Science (IISc) is hosting the Toy Hackathon grand finale from 22 to 24 June 2021; 10 teams will participate
Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore has been selected by MIC/AICTE for hosting the Toycathon 2021 Grand Finale, an event conducted by the Government of India to promote the indigenous toy industry. Around 10 teams from different parts of India have confirmed their participation.
Stressing upon PM Modi’s ‘Vocal for Local’ concept in the toy industry, the Ministry of Education mooted the idea of a multi-track nation-wide inter-ministerial toycathon.
The Toycathon 2021 is being organised jointly by the Ministry of Education in coordination with five other Ministries: Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises, and Ministry of Textiles. The Ministry of Education’s Innovation Cell at the All India Council for Technical Education is acting as the nodal agency for organising Toycathon 2021.
Shri Amit Khare, Secretary, Ministry of Education, said, “India needs to emerge as the global toy manufacturing hub in the future. We need to stress upon creating an ecosystem for the domestic toy industry and the local manufacturers, tapping the untapped resources and utilising the potential. Working on the vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister and considering the huge potential of our toy market, we can easily become “Atmanirbhar” in the toy industry.”
Prof Anil D Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, AICTE, said, “The National Education Policy (NEP) – 2020 has placed huge emphasis on innovation and experiential learning. Drawing inspiration from NEP, AICTE has been working closely with Innovation Cell of Ministry of Education to conduct various hackathons to provide platforms for the young minds of the country to innovate, experience and materialise their ideas. On the same lines, we are conducting this Toycathon to provide a national level platform for our Innovators to boost Innovation in the domestic toy market. I am happy to share that we have received huge participation in Toycathon 2021 from our engineering institutions.”
The proposed Toy Hackathon has 3 tracks:
Track 1 for Junior Level participants i.e. primarily SCHOOL STUDENTS. This mainly focused on designing toys for kids of age group 0-3 years and 4-10 years.
Track 2 for Senior Level participants i.e. students and faculty from higher education institutions. This group focused on developing concepts for 0-3 years, 4-10 and 11 years and above. This segment primarily focused on Electronics, Sensors, Mechatronics, and toys based on AI and ML approaches, AR-VR-XR and Robotics.
Track 3 for Startup-Professional Level that incudes overall innovation and development of prototypes. These prototypes are expected to enable the toy industry to boost the production along with improving the quality of toys in the Indian market.
The inter-ministerial Toycathon focuses on conceptualising new and innovative toys using local materials which are economical, affordable, safe and environment friendly, with exceptional high quality for both Indian and global markets.
The Toycathon 2021 began with inviting problem statements and finalising the top problem statements, identifying the Nodal Centres, identifying evaluators, experts and dignitaries, months before the grand finale. Then, participation was invited from students and professionals. Around 14,130 teams have submitted 17,770 different ideas on innovative toys based on themes like education, Indian history, culture and moral values, social and human values, psychological development, agricultural implements and tools, and knowledge about India.
The hackathon was initially conceptualised in two formats i.e. Physical Toycathon for physical toys and Digital Toycathon for digital toys. Owing to the safety of students and participants, the Physical Toycathon has been postponed and now only the Digital Hackathon is being conducted from 22 June 2021 to 24 June 2021 due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Digital Toycathon has received a phenomenal response from enthusiastic innovators and now 1,567 selected teams will be participating virtually through 85 Nodal Centres.
During the grand finale, the selected teams will virtually present their toys in front of a jury panel comprising experts from premier institutes. The teams will receive mentoring from experts during the hackathon and teams will have to improve their toys/games as per the experts’ suggestions.
Dr Abhay Jere, Chief Innovation Officer, Ministry of Education Innovation Cell, outlined the importance of Toycathon in pedagogy. He said, “Toy based pedagogy is one of the most effective ways of teaching and learning. For Toycathon 2021, we have received a large number of entries which are focusing on the toys to teach very difficult science and maths concepts to school students in a fun and easy way.”
Dr Mohit Gambhir, Innovation Director, Ministry of Education Innovation Cell, critically analysed the importance of such hackathons in boosting the innovation for the Indian MSME toy industry. He said, “This Toycathon has the potential to revolutionise the MSME sector related to the toy Industry. This Toycathon will inculcate the culture of competition and innovation among our innovative youth and that will in turn boost the local manufacturing of toys for the modern age inspired from the tradition of our motherland.”
The Toycathon will not only connect young minds to national institutions, but this premier hackathon for innovation in toy industry will also instil the spirit of inquiry, critical thinking, and life skill learning.