Thursday, June 30, 2022

The Scottish Government’s £1.3m computing in schools pledge can lift esports in the country

The Scottish Government has just committed £1.3m for computing in schools. While some have criticized this move as being a paltry amount per school, never underestimate an inspired youngster with greater access to something they love, argues Esports News UK editor Dom Sacco

Schools in Scotland can now bid for grants of up to £3,000 to purchase additional computing science equipment, devices, software or teaching resources.

That’s due to a £1.3 million investment from the Scottish Government, which hopes to support computing science in primary and secondary schools across the country.

Every school will also receive two class sets pocket-sized computers that help pupils understand how software and hardware work together.

While some have criticized this move (Scottish Conservative shadow minister for children and young people Meghan Gallacher said“if schools are looking to upgrade their computers and devices for pupils, I’m afraid £3,000 from the SNP Government won’t touch the sides”) we shouldn’t underestimate the effect this could have in young people.

£3,000 per school might seem small to Meghan and I’m sure others out there, but that equates to five budget PCs that would be more than capable of running League of Legends, Rocket League, Minecraft, Fortnite and other low-spec games for students as part of an extracurricular esports club. It’s enough to get a team or two together in those schools and take part in school/collegiate tournaments, whether it’s Digital Schoolhouse, British Esports Student Champs, Adaplay or whatever else.

Give a youngster access to something they love – computers, esports or whatever else – and that can be invaluable to them. We shouldn’t underestimate the effects small changes like this can have on people. You never know, it might just inspire the next generation of esports talent from Scotland.

“It is essential that we have as many talented young people leaving schools with the skills Scotland’s technology sector and wider economy fundamentally depends upon.”

Shirley-Anne Somerville, Education Secretary

Heck knows we need more of our Scottish neighbors making a name for themselves in esports and streaming. We have some – Scrub Killa, Cammy, MarkyB, Snoopeh, Chemera, RossBoomsocks and others – but we could use more.

So I for one welcome this move, and I look forward to more youngsters bugging their teachers to get their schools involved in esports via this funding.

Scotland currently has 10 schools and colleges taking part in the British Esports Student Championships, and I want more! Alva Academy in Scotland is one that takes part in the esports competitionand boasts the first and only esports suite in any Scottish secondary school.

The news comes after Mark Logan’s independent Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review from August 2020 recommended increased investment to improve computing science provision in schools.

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “It is essential that we have as many talented young people leaving schools with the skills Scotland’s technology sector and wider economy fundamentally depends upon.

“This investment aims to refresh computing science lessons for learners – equipping them with the skills they need for careers in tech.”

The Scottish Teachers Advancing Computing Science (STACS), an organization based at the University of Glasgow to spread best practice in computing science in schools, has also received a Scottish Government grant of £67,500 to set up and run the STACS programme.

We have a lack of pro players from the UK in general, so if Bonnie Scotland can supply some more, why the hell not?

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