Google is to provide more than a hundred trainee computer science teachers in the UK with Arduino or Raspberry Pi kits as teaching aids, chairman Eric Schmidt said on Wednesday.
Speaking at London's Science Museum, Schmidt noted how computer science education was essential to the development of engineering skills. Google has already given funding to a charity called Teach First, which recruits exceptional graduates to train as teachers, and it will now give them kit as well.
"To ensure they aren't held back by a lack of equipment, we'll also provide each computer science recruit with a small bursary to purchase teaching aids, such as Raspberry Pis or Arduino starter kits," Schmidt said.
"It should take just a few months for the benefits to begin. After undergoing an intensive training course this summer, the first batch of Teach First recruits will be placed into schools where they can make a difference right away, whilst receiving on-the-job mentoring and teacher training for a further two years," he added.
Schmidt said there was "no reason" why Raspberry Pi, a very low-cost educational computer that has seen high demand since its launch earlier this year, could not "have the same impact" as the BBC Micro did in the 1980s, as long as the project enjoys the right support.
"Computer science brings a practical rigour and creativity to problem-solving that differs from that of other disciplines," Schmidt said. "It's vital to expose kids to this early if they're to have the chance of a career in computing. Only two percent of Google engineers say they weren't exposed to computer science at high school."