Forget football: Norway puts eSports on the curriculum

By Oliver Smith 13 January 2016

A tech-savvy Nordic school is giving its students the option to play competitive video games, all in the name of education.

Playing video games might not sound like something that children should be doing at school, but today a growing number of schools in Norway and Sweden are letting their students swap cricket for Counter Strike.

While some entrepreneurs in Britain are calling for our schooling system to adopt a game-style of learning, with the promise that it could help cut school’s costs by as much as 30%, now a school in Norway is putting video games on the curriculum.

Starting in August Garnes High School will let its students study five hours a week of competitive eSports, in place of their traditional PE or sports classes.

Read more: Vivino – Yet another secret Nordic success story

eSports is now a huge global industry worth more than £400m, its cash prizes are soaring into the millions and the best players becoming icons to children.

With the booming profile of eSports it’s not surprising that kids today are dreaming of becoming professional gamers rather than footballers.

But the school says it won’t all be sitting in front of a computer screens.

eSports classes will be split with 90 minutes of physical training focused on reflexes, strength and endurance, and students performance, game knowledge, skills, communication and cooperation will all be assessed in classes.

Garnes High School’s decision to offer eSports isn’t the first time a school has made the unusual decision, Arlanda School in Sweden last March adopted eSports onto its curriculum on the back of growing demand from its students.

Garnes hasn’t decided which games students will be taught, but says the popular games of Starcraft II, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2 and League of Legends are all under consideration.

The school says some 30 or so kids can enrol on the course in August but, with Garnes School’s head of science promising a curriculum and assessments akin to that of a pro-athlete, it won’t all be fun and video games.