$1 Million Google Grant Will Give 15,000 UK Schoolchildren Raspberry Pi Devices

Google Giving, the philanthropic arm of the company, is providing 15,000 UK schoolchildren with their very own Raspberry Pi micro computers. The company has donated $525,000 for the purchase of the $35 devices and an additional $475,000 for teaching materials, support, and other resources. Google is providing the free devices so schoolchildren can learn basic programming.

In a company blog poston Tuesday, the company’s Giving Foundation explained that Google chairman Eric Schmidt recently visited with schoolchildren in the region and spoke to them about coding and building $35 computers.

The first devices have already been delivered to a group of 12-year-old students.

According to the Google Giving Foundation:

“We’re absolutely made up over the news; this is a brilliant way for us to find kids all over the country 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. We want those tools to be within everybody’s grasp, right from the start.

“The really good sign is that industry has a visible commitment now to trying to solve the problem of CS education in the UK. 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. We’re incredibly grateful for their help in something that we, like them, think is of vital importance. We think they deserve an enormous amount of credit for helping some of our future engineers and scientists find a way to a career they’re going to love.”

The Raspberry Pi has become a huge success since launching with over one million units sold worldwide. It’s not just kids wanting to learn coding who have taken advantage of the Raspberry Pi; many adult maker community members have also taken to the cheap but flexible device.

Speaking of his company’s decision to give away the devices, Google’s Schmidt added:

“Britain’s innovators and entrepreneurs have changed the world — the telephone, television and computers were all invented here. We’ve been working to encourage the next generation of computer scientists and we hope this donation of Raspberry Pi’s to British school pupils will help drive a new wave of innovation.”

Google has not revealed whether or not it will launch a similar Rapsberry Pi giving program in the United States or other parts of the world.