Dubai school to offer courses in gaming from September

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on April 1, 2021
File photo

First in the region to offer esports and game design courses from September

A Dubai school has become the first in the region to deliver two specialised courses in digital game design and esports.

GEMS FirstPoint School – The Villa will offer the BTEC International Esports and BTEC International Creative Media – Game Design courses from September 2021 as an option for Year 12 and Year 13 students (aged 16 to 18). However, esports will also be offered as an extracurricular activity for all year groups, complete with internal competitions and leagues.

The courses will offer industry-level hardware and software knowledge and be held in a specially created creative media suite and immersive room, preparing students for a future in an increasingly technology-led world.

Matthew Tompkins, principal/CEO at GEMS FirstPoint, said: “I am very excited that GEMS FirstPoint School will be the first in the region to offer these post-16 courses. Our school continues to respond to the evolving needs of industry and listen to student voices.”

Dr Daniel Doyle, GEMS FirstPoint’s head of school, said: “By offering esports opportunities and game design qualifications, we want to give the students of Dubai and the UAE a real chance to be the first to study ground-breaking qualifications that will make them the innovators of the future.”

Doyle added: “These qualifications have grown out of a well-established innovative culture at FirstPoint. For example, e-safety lies at the heart of our provision and is addressed in computing classes across our curriculum and in every classroom. We offer gaming tournaments and live events where students compete against others in different countries.”

The initiative which is supported by Pearson and British Esports Association is looking to collaborate with other partners as well, while industry professionals and university professors will also be brought in to give lectures on key topics.

The two courses will be overseen by industry-qualified and trained teaching staff. “We have industry-qualified staff delivering the courses, developing opportunities for the future workforce in an industry that is experiencing exponential growth and a need for skilled practitioners,” Tompkins said.

Michael Bradbury, the school’s head of computer science, is the first teacher in the region to be accredited by Unreal Engine – which is a game engine developed by Epic Games (an American video game and software developer and publisher).

Baldish Nijjar, assistant principal specialism at GEMS FirstPoint and head of the school’s Centre of Excellence for Digital Industries, pointed out: “We’ll be using our global industry partnerships and university links to incorporate the use of industry experts, external resources and alternative accreditations that are recognised in the industry. We are excited to be leading the way for the region and look forward to creating the most dynamic and innovative curricula of the future.”

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