I think that my advice will simply amplify ther others here.

I used to own a Canon EOS autofocus SLR. One day, by chance, I sold it and bought a Pentax K1000. It was the best move I ever made and I learnt nothing while I had the EOS because the level of automation and features made it hard to figure exactly what was goin on and you don't need that when you are a novice - It is a bit like trying to learn to play a Cathedral organ without having learnt a bit on the Piano first.

So my advice is Pentax K1000, and you can always sell them when you want to move on as a lot of courses stipulate students should buy K100's.

Matt