Over half of UK students believe an esports qualification would be as useful to them as a traditional subject like maths, according to a report by Dr Eliza Filby in partnership with the British Esports Federation.
The study, funded by US chipmaker Intel and computing brand Dell, found that of the 700 students surveyed, 53% believe or strongly believe that esports would be a useful skill. Moreover, 56% agreed that a qualification in esports alongside other subjects might improve their chances of getting into university.
According to the report, 78% of UK school students age 11-17 now game with many saying that their passion had driven other interests like content creation.
Esports also topped the list of preferred extra-curricular activities beating out traditional pursuits like dance, drama and art.
41% indicated they would opt to take an esports qualification if it were available, and many believe it would help them with critical thinking, new skill acquisition, and communication ability.
The research follows a wave of growth in the scholastic gaming sector in the UK, from schools in Scotland partnering with local colleges for esports curriculums to independent training provider Virtual Learning UK partnering with Belong Gaming Arenas to launch an esports BTEC.
Dell and Intel commissioned similar research in March 2022, which found that over two-thirds of UK parents believe esports allows their children to develop skills that they might not get through traditional education methods — and that 54% say esports gives children more confidence.
Report leader Dr Eliza Filby commented in a press release. “For this generation, school doesn’t finish at 3 pm.
“There’s definitely a misconception that gaming and esports don’t hold real value to young people when actually key skills are developed through them, ones that will set them up for the inevitable metaverse and AI-driven future.
“Whilst there are other things that Gen Alpha will need to thrive in the future – from engagement with the natural world to face-to-face communication – we need to understand that gaming is one of those core experiences which will help them prepare for the 21st century.”
Patrick Walker Patrick is a freelance writer for ESI based in London, reporting on esports marketing and partnerships trends. He's currently playing VALORANT and Overwatch but always looking for the next big thing in competitive gaming.