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    Russian Non-Profit Proposes Adding Minecraft, World of Tanks to School Curriculum

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    According to the idea’s proponents, e-sports have the potential to help children learn strategic and logical thinking, improve decision-making skills, and develop teamwork with their classmates.

    The Internet Development Institute, a non-profit serving as a discussion platform between Russian government officials and internet companies, has sent a letter to Education Minister Olga Vasilyeva urging her to consider e-sports as an elective credit for schoolchildren, RBK has reported, citing the letter.

    The non-profit proposes a total of eight games, including DOTA 2, Hearthstone, Dota Underlords, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, FIFA 19, World of Tanks, Minecraft and CodinGame for the course, with the games said to teach important skills. Minecraft in particular is said to stand out as a game which can promote abstract and creative thinking, while CodinGame, an online platform for game developers, can help teach programming and maths skills.

    The institute pointed to the listed games’ popularity, the possibilities for receiving support from developers, as well as the games’ safe 14+ age rating as arguments in favour of the idea.

    Earlier, the Internet Development Institute proposed introducing an e-sport credit in schools across Russia on an experimental basis, saying the idea can be implemented in line with reforms aimed at modernising the Russian school system. The institute’s experts insist that gaming in schools will help draw youth into useful activities and prevent them from sinking into ‘destructive subcultures’.

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    Geek Picnic Festival in Moscow, file photo.

    Sergei Petrov, the institute’s general director, told RBK that games in the classroom must be filled with a deeper meaning, “which will help develop the skills necessary for the pupil’s adult life – strategic and logical thinking, the ability to make quick decisions, teamwork.” He also noted that the current list of mostly Western-made games should be complemented in time with titles from Russian developers.

    At present, e-sports can be studied at the Russian State University of Physical Education, Sports, Youth and Tourism at its department of information technology. The Higher School of Economics also offers a one week programme called ‘Introduction to eSports Analytics,’ with a number of other institutions of higher learning offering similar courses. While computer games have been a component of the school system since the late 1980s at many schools, they have traditionally been used to help teach the broader subject of informatics, and not as a standalone subject.

    ‘What Next? Selfie and Blogging Lessons?’

    The Internet Development Institute’s proposal was met with mostly negative reactions from Russian readers of internet media resources.

    Many users treated the idea as a farce, with one wistfully joking that he would be an A student if he were in school today. “And they should play Mortal Combat instead of teaching phys ed,” another wrote. “And starting in 5th grade they should get their sex ed lessons through videos from Brazzers,” another sarcastically remarked.

    “Don’t forget a lesson on how to do selfies and blogging,” another user added. “Who proposed this idea? Children themselves at a meeting on self-administration?” another wrote.

    Tweet reads: “No comment.”

    The Education Ministry has yet to make a formal reply to the institute's proposal.

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