Google gives 15,000 Raspberry Pis to UK kids

Google is donating 15,000 Raspberry Pi computers to British schoolchildren in order to help them develop programming skills.

The donation of the credit-card-sized, basic computers was announced yesterday during a visit from Google CEO Eric Schmidt to Chesterton Community College in Cambridge, where the first batch was handed out.

“Britain’s innovators and entrepreneurs have changed the world. The telephone, television and computers were all invented here,” said Schmidt.

“We’ve been working to encourage the next generation of computer scientists, and we hope that this donation of Raspberry Pis to British school pupils will help drive a new wave of innovation.”

Almost a million Raspberry Pis have been sold since the device launched a year ago. Many, though, have gone to adult enthusiasts rather than the children it was originally aimed at.

“The really good sign is that industry has a visible commitment now to trying to solve the problem of CS education in the UK. Grants like this show us that companies like Google aren’t prepared to wait for government or someone else to fix the problems we’re all discussing, but want to help tackle them themselves,” says the Raspberry Pi Foundation in a blog.

“We’re incredibly grateful for their help in something that we, like them, think is of vital importance.”

The foundation will work with Google and six UK educational partners to identify individual recipients for the machines.