Google funds computer science teacher training

May 24, 2012 | 10:19

Tags: #computer-science #computing-education #eben-upton #education #eric-schmidt #programming #teaching

Companies: #google #raspberry-pi

Google's Eric Schmidt has pledged cash to fund teachers and hardware for computing eduction in the UK, teaming up with charity Teach First.

Announced at an event at the London Science Museum last night, Schmidt admitted that progress on improving computing education in the UK had been made since his scathing comments at the McTaggart Lectures last August but stated that things are still in a 'sorry state.'

Schmidt isn't just a man of words, though: in the same breath as denigrating the state of computing education in the UK, the Google boss announced that he would put his money - or, more accurately, his employer's money - where his mouth is in partnership with charity Teach First.

A cash injection will be provided to the charity, which currently places exceptional graduates on six-week training programmes ahead of two-year placements in schools, in order to put 100 additional science teachers through the programme. Each teacher will be given a bursary to buy equipment, including the low-cost Raspberry Pi device designed by Broadcom engineer Eben Upton - who, incidentally, was a guest at the event.

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

Schmidt's comment on the BBC Micro comes as Nesta releases a report into the impact of Acorn's eight-bit marvel which claims its release, alongside the BBC's Computer Literacy Project which taught the country how to use the device, had a major impact on the nation - an impact which Schmidt claims is now being forgotten and lost.

'It's vital to expose kids to this early if they're to have the chance of a career in computing,' Schmidt told attendees at the event. 'Only two per cent of Google engineers say they weren't exposed to computer science at high school. While not every child is going to become a programmer, those with aptitude shouldn't be denied the chance.'

The Google-funded programme is to run for three years, with 100 science teachers to benefit from Schmidt's largess of which the majority will focus on computer science.
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