Most of us have tried to sneak a game Minesweeper during our computer classes at school, but for students at Garnes High School in Norway, playing games is not something they need to hide. Garnes Vidaregåande Skole, a public high school in the city of Bergen, Norway, will start teaching e-sports to its students from August. The elective class equates e-sports with traditional sports such as football and handball at school. Approximately 30 students enrolled in the program study for five hours per week during the three-year program.
Folk high schools – boarding schools that offer a year of non-examined training and education – have already offered some e-sports training, but this will be the first time e-sports has been given a place in a mainstream high school.
Students participating in the program will not just spend five hours a week playing games at school. While gaming skills are important, classes will include 90 minutes of physical training optimized for the games in question, with work on reflexes, strength and stamina. Each class is split; 15 students play while the other 15 do physical exercises. In an interview with Dotablast, Petter Grahl Johnstad, head of the school’s science department, says that students’ performance will be assessed, with game knowledge and skills, communication, cooperation and tactical skills all being assessed.
The school will have a dedicated area for the program with gaming chairs and high-end PCs with Nvidia GeForce GTX 980Ti video cards, according to the Facebook page. Students will provide their own mice, keyboards, and headsets to accommodate the wide variety of personal preferences available.
Garnes has not yet decided which game or games his students will study. Two are offered in the first year, with Dota 2, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensiveand Starcraft II all in consideration.
In offering this course, the school is embracing a growing trend and is undoubtedly appealing to many children who like to play games when they should be studying. But that is not everything; Garnes is also playing catch-up with his neighbors. A school in Sweden announced last year that it was starting a similar plan to offer e-sports education.