Google has snapped up 15,000 Raspberry Pi computers for use in UK schools. Google chairman Eric Schmidt has stated that access to affordable computing in schools is the key to driving the future of Britain’s innovation, and that the training of technically-minded people is a key concern of the company.
Google has a vested interest in the UK, as it recently purchased land near London’s King Cross to the tune of $1 billion to set up new offices, and create a string of new jobs. The Raspberry Pi partnership was announced at Chesterton Community College in Cambridge, followed by a coding lesson taught by Schmidt and Raspberry Pi co-founder Eben Upton.
Speaking with the BBC, Schmidt said, “Google’s primary concern is to make sure that there’s lots a lot of technically trained people in the world. Almost everything is better when people are better educated, and there’s a real issue around the shortage of math and science people. And it’s not just in the UK. It’s everywhere, in every country.
“Innovation these days is mostly technically driven… so getting those skills built early is a good investment for Britain. Of course, some of these children will go off and make great companies, but some of them will work for them, and some of them will work for Google.”
Upton added, “We hope that our new partnership with Google will be a significant moment in the development of computing education in the UK. We believe that this can turn around the year-on-year decline in the numbers and skill sets of students applying to read computer science at university.”
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