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Google to fund teachers and Raspberry Pi in UK schools

Google is going to fund computer science teachers, as well as teaching aids like Raspberry Pi, in UK schools.

Google is going to fund computer science teachers -- as well as teaching aids such as the Raspberry Pi mini computer -- in UK schools, the BBC reports.

The search giant is partnered with a charity called Teach First, a programme that trains graduates in the art of computer education before sending them out to schools, where they mould young minds with classes taught over a two-year period.

Google chairman Eric Schmidt -- who last year criticised the state of the UK's computer education -- unveiled the company's plans at a conference in London.

"Technology breakthroughs can't happen without the scientists and engineers to make them," Schmidt said. "The challenge that society faces is to equip enough people, with the right skills and mindset, and get them to work on the most important problems."

Google's aim is, presumably, to ensure the UK keeps producing programming whizz-kids, who it can hire can keep the country competitive when it comes to crafting exciting new technology.

"While not every child is going to become a programmer, those with aptitude shouldn't be denied the chance," Schmidt said.

Google's cash will be used to train up over 100 teachers over the next three years. The scheme is currently limited to seven UK regions -- the East Midlands, Kent and Medway, London, the North East, North West, West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber.

The dirt-cheap Raspberry Pi computer is going to be deployed in the scheme, with Schmidt likening the £22 computer to the BBC Micro, which gave many UK kids their first taste of computing. The Google chief said there's "no reason why Raspberry Pi shouldn't have the same impact, with the right support".

Arduino starter kits were also mentioned as a possible teaching aid.

How was your tech education? Would you have enjoyed lessons in programming? Do you think big companies like Google should have a say in what our children learn? Chalk up a comment or permanently mark our Facebook wall.

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