Students will soon go to war – and play – in a private Yishun school’s new facility tricked out with rows of gaming stations, flight simulators, and racing rigs.
While the XCL World Academy has built what looks like a big space for LAN parties in the back of its library, the school says it is preparing students for the billion-dollar esports industry – and has partnered with the competitive players at Team Flash to do so.
“Our mission is to prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow. The way we do that is by inculcating the 21st-century skills and providing immersive experience by bringing the world to them visually, ” Chang Weirong, strategy head of XCL Education, said yesterday at the facility’s unveiling. “Esports is a fast-growing genre of sports, having made its way into the Asian Games, SEA Games, and the Olympics. It has already attracted vast audiences, with many universities and high schools participating around the world.”
Located in a cozy library space called The Garage, the space is dominated by what’s best described as a big ass LED screen. In fact, it was difficult to listen to the presentation with Minecraft glowing from the enormous screen overhead. It looms over the gaming stations and sims, as well as four virtual reality stations and a bunch of robots and drones.
While it’s not a full study program, students who enroll will be coached by experienced gamers from Team Flash, attend seminars, and secure internships. They will also be supported by league and competitive organizations.
“Given there are over a billion people identifying themselves as online gamers, it makes sense to help identify and help develop these critical thinking skills needed to succeed in this industry,” Team Flash CEO Mark Chew said.
Despite how it looks – an escape from academics for Fortnite or Dota 2 – it’s not just about gaming, Chang insisted. (Behind him beckoned the startup screen for the “education version” of Minecraft, just waiting to be played.)
He said the program teaches leadership, communication, teamwork, and values such as sportsmanship. Real-world esports issues such as gaming addiction and cyberbullying will also be explored.
A multi-purpose esports arena – part of a S$35 million investment – to support the program is slated to open there in August 2023.
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