We all had to suffer through physical education classes that tested our strength, stamina and willpower but for those who weren’t in tip-top shape, these classes were often frustrating. Now, a school in Norway has taken the idea of PE a step further by introducing eSports classes into the curriculum. While some are already saying this is an excellent way to train the next generation in using fine motor skills, logical reasoning and hand-eye coordination, others are slating the move, saying it’s the school system’s way of keeping kids busy so they don’t have to teach them as much math, science and language skills.
There is no doubt that eSports have rocketed to fame worldwide and currently, millions of online players take part in tournaments playing Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and many more. The Garnes Videregående Skole in Norway has taken this to the next level by offering training for the games as part of the curriculum. Secondary school learners who want to take classes will need to add five more hours’ worth of work to their load though, as the courses are being offered in addition to the more traditional subjects. However, results of the classes will carry the same weight as the grades these students earn in science, history and math.
So why push forward with this controversial move? Well, the school says that it is gunning to create a Norwegian eSports team that can play in competitions within the next three years. Since the school is owned and operated by the government, many are wondering if other schools will soon be able to implement eSports into their curricula.
Strangely, Norway is not the first country to have started offering eSports to secondary school students. Australia and Sweden have been allowing students to choose eSports as an elective for a number of years, both at the secondary and primary school levels. Some America universities have even included these games into their course offerings and students have the option of taking League of Legends classes, for example, as a part of their course load.
Though eSports has certainly proved popular in as far as playing and betting are concerned, the critics are not sure this will catch on in schools. While the kids are thrilled to be able to play and discuss their favourite games during school time, their parents are proving to be a little more resistant. While there are those parents who see the training as a way of getting their kids to have fun while learning, others are saying it is a waste of time, a distraction that takes time away from learning the skills these children will need to work one day.
Of course, some may argue that the strategic and logical reasoning learned in these games is a vital skill the next generation will need, others have stated that there are more conventional methods of learning those skills. As technology moves forward, so too should the education system, but is this taking it a step too far?