Google buys 15,000 Raspberry Pis for UK students

Free Raspberry Pi donations will go toward helping students with an aptitude in computing

29 Jan 2013

Google has donated 15,000 Raspberry Pi computing boards to UK schools.

While a million of the cheap and cheerful, education-focused computing boards have already sold, the grant is the biggest push yet to get the devices into the hands of students.

Raspberry Pi Foundation spokeswoman Liz Upton noted in a blog post: "Usually on Tuesday mornings we eat biscuits and do engineering. This is a bit of a change of pace."

The Raspberry Pi devices won't simply be handed out to schools, but the foundation will work with computing clubs to find students who will benefit the most and "whose aptitude for computing can now be explored properly".

"We believe that access to tools is a fundamental necessity in finding out who you are and what you’re good at," Upton said. "We want those tools to be within everybody’s grasp, right from the start."

Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, and Raspberry Pi Foundation founder Eben Upton announced the news at a classroom in Cambridge, after spending the morning teaching kids to code.

Industry commitment

Liz Upton added that the grant was a "really good sign" of industry commitment. "Grants like this show us that companies like Google aren’t prepared to wait for government or someone else to fix the problems we’re all discussing, but want to help tackle them themselves," she said.

The grant comes after Schmidt last year pledged teacher training funding - which included using the Raspberry Pi in lessons.

Schmidt has accused the UK of "throwing away its computer heritage" by failing in computing classrooms - a speech that Upton credited with helping set up the Raspberry Pi for success. "I don’t think we could have ever got the momentum we needed to get going with Raspberry Pi without that speech," she wrote.

Read more about: