Google to fund British computer science teachers

Eric Schmidt pledges cash to buy Raspberry Pis and train teachers

Nicole Kobie
24 May 2012

Google has said it will cough up funds to train computer science teachers.

The promise was made by Eric Schmidt at a Google event, and follows the executive chairman's criticism of UK schools for "throwing away its computing heritage" by teaching children to use software but not create it. Since then, the Government has agreed to rework computing teaching in the UK, but plans have yet to be finalised.

"Rebooting computer science education is not straightforward," Schmidt said at an event in London, according to a BBC report. "Scrapping the existing curriculum was a good first step - the equivalent of pulling the plug out of the wall. The question is now how to power up."

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

Schmidt said the funding would be handed to the charity Teach First, to put 100 recent graduates through a six-week training course and give them equipment - including the Raspberry Pi - before sending them into schools to teach.

"The success of the BBC Micro in the 1980s shows what's possible," he said. "There's no reason why Raspberry Pi shouldn't have the same impact, with the right support."

Schmidt claimed only 2% of Google engineers didn't have computer science training as students. "While not every child is going to become a programmer, those with aptitude shouldn't be denied the chance."

"Put simply, 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 to get them to work on the most important problems."

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