Cambridge, U.K. (Manufacturing.net) — Google Giving, a philanthropic department of the Internet search giant, has awarded the U.K.-based Raspberry Pi Foundation with a “very generous” grant to provide better educational tools for young students in the U.K. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt visited Cambridge this morning to help teach programming to a classroom of local students.
Mike Buffham, Head of EDE at element14, said, “The announcement today by the Raspberry Pi Foundation is one that will truly take the Raspberry Pi into the education sector — a dream which has been at the centre of their thinking since the project was created. It is great to think that, because of this innovative device, young people can develop new transferrable skills in computer science that the engineering industry is crying out for.”
Although details of the grant have not been announced, it is assumed the grant is more than $525,000 — the cost of building and giving away 15,000 Raspberry Pis at the retail price of $35. The first batch of Pis has already been given away to the students fortunate enough to be present at Schmidt’s morning programming lesson.
The remainder of the micro-sized computers will be donated based on a collaborative effort between the Foundation and six partners: CoderDojo, Code Club, Computing at Schools, Generating Genius, Teach First and OCR. The organizations will work together to identify the children in most in need of a Raspberry Pi, and will aid in further educating them on how to write code.
Buffham continued: “We hope that this will also prompt discussion about what education departments, and indeed Governments, are going to do to ensure the next generation of design engineer will have the necessary core skills. Providing the Raspberry Pi to schools is one thing, but putting real computer science back on the school curriculum would have an even greater impact.”
The Foundation, which acts as a charity, has been distributing the credit card-sized computers since late February 2012. Since then, they have gone on to sell more than one million Raspberry Pis to consumers and educations around the world. The Foundation has generated more than $17.5 million from the sales, which will then be re-invested into additional models and more in-depth educational programs.