UAE: New Esports, Game Design Academy Announced Offering Scholarships To Students

A new Esports and Game Design Academy is set to launch in September 2024, aiming to nurture the next generation of esports talent across all GEMS schools in the UAE.

This centrally managed academy, where all schools will converge, will offer a scholarship prize fund, providing students with opportunities in the rapidly growing fields of competitive gaming and game design while ensuring their holistic development.

This initiative aligns with the broader UAE strategy to establish the country as a global gaming and esports hub. The Dubai Future Foundation is leading the charge with a $1 billion ecosystem to create 30,000 jobs by 2033.

The UAE’s largest school group reaffirmed its commitment to harnessing the educational potential of esports, ensuring that students not only excel in gaming but also acquire essential personal and professional skills in this rapidly expanding industry, which is already larger than both the music and movie sectors combined.

Critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership skills

Sunny Varkey, Group Chairman of GEMS Global and Founder of the Varkey Foundation and GEMS Education, said, “We believe in the power of innovation to transform lives. The launch of our Esports and Game Design Academy is a testament to our commitment to providing students with opportunities to engage in leading industries.

“Students with the passion to learn are able to create 2D and 3D games from a young age, and we will provide access to industry level game design learning. Esports is more than just gaming; it’s about developing critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership skills. We are excited to support our students in exploring their passions and preparing for future success. We look forward to discovering the next generation of esports talent – who may even go on to one day compete at the Olympics.”

The academy aims to foster a safe and engaging environment for students through selected age-appropriate games. It will support the holistic student development of pupils with a focus on personal, social, and cognitive skills.

Structured platform

It will provide a structured platform for learning materials, league participation, competitions, hackathons, accreditations, and qualifications, while enabling students to explore careers and university opportunities in the gaming industry. It will establish staff esports leads, student ambassador and leadership groups in each GEMS school with a focus on gaming for good.

Baz Nijjar, Principal Advisor – Education Technology, said, “The Esports and Game Design Academy is not just about fostering gaming talent; it’s about creating a dynamic learning environment where students can thrive, develop essential holistic skills, and prepare and adapt for the future with transferable skills.

“We are proud to lead this initiative in the region and look forward to seeing our students excel in and out of the gaming arena, transferring their skills to support academic and personal development goals.”

Nijjar, who is a member of the government-backed Dubai Program for Gaming 2033 Working Group, added, “Additionally, we are committed to providing a safe and secure environment where children can game wisely while learning about wellbeing, food and nutrition, fitness, and mental dexterity – just like professional esports athletes. The transferable skills gained through esports are invaluable and will benefit our students in all aspects of life.”

The school group already has a four-year track record in promoting esports and game design providing its students opportunities in the sector.


Khaleej Times

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