Sat, May 18, 2019 - Page 4 News List

E-sports draws school students to Kaohsiung

By Huang Hsu-lei, Tsai Ya-hua and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Kaohsiung’s Li-Chih Valuable School’s e-sports management department — the first of its kind in the nation — has attracted a large number of students from Taipei and Taichung, school principal Chiang Che (江澈) said.

The interdisciplinary department was established last year with approval from the Ministry of Education. An academic program for e-sports was introduced at the senior-high school three years ago.

More than 350 students have been part of the program since it was formed, department director Lin Shih-hung (林士弘) said.

Last year, 48 students — including Wei Hsiao-chin (魏孝錦), who played at the world cup for Overwatch, a Blizzard Entertainment game; and Flash Wolves team membrs Lee Yi-ting (李羿霆) and Liang En-shuo (梁恩碩), who play PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Riot Games’ League of Legends respectively — became inaugural graduates of the program, he said.

Lee, who gave up a spot in a public school arts program to study e-sports, said that encouragement from his coach and teachers helped him overcome low points in his career.

Last year, the school invested NT$8 million (US$255,616) to build an “e-sports digital teaching center” equipped with curved gaming monitors with refresh rates of 144Hz, professional gaming mice, livestream capabilities and an arena.

E-sports has become a national sports industry, Chiang said.

Players can be drafted and trained by national teams and are eligible for the same resources, such as scholarships, as other athletes, he said.

In Taipei, You Hua High School, Qiang Shu High School and Hujiang High School also offer e-sports courses or programs.

You Hua last year developed an experimental e-sports program, in which students learn core subjects in the mornings and take e-sports courses in the afternoons.

At Qiang Shu, e-sports is offered as a minor.

Taipei’s Yu Da High School of Commerce and Home Economics is expected to offer an e-sports program in the next academic year.

However, some schools have complained that neither the current or new curriculum guidelines, to be implemented in August, cover e-sports and that there is a lack of teachers qualified for the subject.

The National Federation of Teachers’ Unions said that outside understanding of academic programs for e-sports is still concentrated on competitions.

It said high-school programs could be improved by partnering with universities or colleges.

Additional reporting by Rachel Lin

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