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Google grant puts 15,000 Raspberry Pi PCs in UK schools

15,000 Pi micro computers have been pumped into the British school system, courtesy of the search giant.

Google has coughed up enough cash to send 15,000 Raspberry Pi computers to UK schools, in a bid to give the British programming scene a shot in the arm.

The good-will donation comes via Google Giving, the search giant's charitable arm. Both Google and Raspberry Pi will work with six UK educational partners, including exam board OCR, to make sure the thousands of free computers are put to good use.

Google chairman Eric Schmidt popped into a school in Cambridge to buddy up with Raspberry Pi co-founder Eben Upton and teach a coding lesson, doling out Raspberry Pi computers like a man engaged in a secret ploy to shed himself of all his wealth within 30 days.

Schmidt has been outspoken in the past about the state of IT in British schools, saying in 2011 he was "flabbergasted to learn that today's computer science isn't even taught as standard in UK schools".

"Your IT curriculum focuses on teaching how to use software," Schmidt railed, "but gives no insight into how it's made."

It's hard to argue with the Big G's big cheese on that point, but with any luck the availability of dirt-cheap computers such as the British-built Raspberry Pi gives would-be programmers ample opportunity to get tinkering. Of course, it would be even better if Google could do that and contribute some tax at the same time.

Rasberry Pi recently launched its own app store, which lets kids earn money if games they build prove popular with other owners. The Nexus 7 is another (relatively) cheap way to get into coding, thanks to its wide-open Android operating system.

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