As Esports continues its meteoric rise in popularity around the world, new data has found that over 70 percent of schools are now considering introducing competitive gaming to its curriculum in some shape or form.
A new report from Extreme Networks, and eCampus News surveyed 281 technical and administrative leaders across K-12 and higher education in North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Middle East shows that one in five schools already have a dedicated Esports program, and an incredible 71 percent are thinking about doing the same.
The report goes on to claim that more and more schools are starting to see the potential of Esports, and see adding it to the curriculum as an important aspect of supporting student recruitment and preparing kids for life beyond education.
Schools have apparently found that Esports can even help develop “in-demand job skills,” while SUNY Canton in New York even uses its Esports program to offer degrees in game design, cyber-security, and more.
56 percent surveyed claimed that introducing Esports improved overall campus experience, while 41 percent found it to genuinely help with student recruitment. Meanwhile, 20 percent of schools are apparently already using scholarships to attract top Esports talent, with another 67 percent considering following suit.
Elsewhere, the recent implementation of a high school program funded and developed with the help of Microsoft has already shown a demonstrable improvement in attendance, grade point average, and attitude towards long-term goals.
As reported by The Gamer, The High School Esports League (HSEL) recently unveiled the HSEL Gaming Concepts – a high school curriculum that aims to translate student’s love of video games into improving academic success and attitude.
The program has already been piloted by principal Dr. Kristy Custer and teacher Michael Russel, and students reportedly saw an average increase in their GPA of 1.4, as well as a whopping 95 percent improvement to attendance.
Dr. Custer said:
Students with chronic absenteeism who do not feel a connection to the school especially benefit from esports. Eighty-two percent of students on our team have never participated in an extra-curricular activity prior to offering esports.
Both reports are genuinely intriguing, and really lay out just how incredibly seriously the world beyond the games industry is starting to take Esports. As more and more schools start to produce genuine results from implementing competitive gaming in some way, it’s surely only a matter of time before it becomes standard practice.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.