Give pupils competitive gaming lessons, researcher says


E-sports should be introduced into the primary and secondary curriculum, a Leuven researcher has said, giving children the chance to develop essential creative and strategic thinking skills from a young age

Just like PE

Just like children have physical education lessons, they should also have a couple of hours a week of competitive gaming, according to a researcher from the University of Leuven.

ICT specialist Yung Shin Van Der Sype told De Standaard that children should spend time on e-sports, which are increasingly used in business to teach employees skills.

“E-sports includes games like Starcraft, in which you have to build a whole economy and thus learn to organise and think strategically,” she said. In business, “if you oblige staff to follow lessons, nobody will listen. Give them a game and they are intrigued."

Van Der Sype works on Dogana, a European research project that developed a game called Phishing Wars in which staff have to recognise and remove potentially dangerous emails as soon as possible. “It’s a fun way of teaching staff how they can protect the company against a cyber-attack,” said Van Der Sype.

She believes it’s essential that children get used to this way of learning from a young age, which is why she is calling for obligatory e-sports lessons in primary and secondary school. “The purpose should be that children can be creative, build something together, learn to structure and develop their agility,” she said.

Flemish education minister Hilde Crevits said the use of games in class could motivate children. “Schools have the freedom to include gaming in their course programme,” she said.

Photo courtesy Pixabay

Educational system

The Flemish educational system is divided into two levels: primary (age six to 12) and secondary school (12 to 18). Education is compulsory for children between the ages of six and 18.
Types - There are three educational networks in Flanders: the Flemish Community’s GO! network, and publicly funded education – either publicly or privately run.
Not enough space - In recent years, Flemish schools have been struggling with persistent teacher shortages and a growing lack of school spaces.
No tuition fees - Nursery, primary and secondary school are free in Flanders.

million school-going children in 2013


million euros Flemish education budget for new school infrastructures in 2013


percent of boys leaving secondary school without a diploma