• New BTECS will deliver student-specialised teaching in emerging digital industries
• School will be offering added support from sector experts from home and overseas
• Courses are part of the school's focus on preparing students for a digital-led future
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 31 March 2021:
GEMS FirstPoint School – The Villa will become the first school in the UAE and the region to deliver two specialised courses in digital game design and esports for its students.
The BTEC courses, which will be offered from September 2021, will offer industry-level hardware and software and be held in a specially created creative media suite and immersive room. The initiative is supported by industry leaders Pearson and British Esports Association, with further sector and university partners to be announced soon.
Matthew Tompkins, Principal/CEO at GEMS FirstPoint, said: “Our school continues to respond to the evolving needs of industry and listen to student voice, tracking the ambition of our students and truly personalising the pathways we provide for them. I am therefore very excited that GEMS FirstPoint School will be the first in the region to offer these post-16 courses.
“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.”
Dr Daniel Doyle, GEMS FirstPoint's Head of School, said: “By offering esports opportunities and game design qualifications, we are showing that we live and breathe innovation. 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.
“These qualifications have grown out of a well-established innovative culture at FirstPoint. For example, esafety 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.”
Baldish Nijjar, Assistant Principal Specialism at GEMS FirstPoint and Head of the school's Centre of Excellence for Digital Industries, added: “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 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.”
The BTEC International Esports and BTEC International Creative Media – Game Design qualifications will be overseen by industry-qualified and -trained teaching staff. In fact, Michael Bradbury, Head of Computer Science at GEMS FirstPoint, is the first teacher in the region to be accredited by Unreal Engine. Industry professionals and university professors will also be brought in to give lectures on key topics.
The courses will be an option for Year 12 and Year 13 students (aged 16 to 18) at GEMS FirstPoint, but esports will also be offered as an extracurricular activity for all year groups across the school, complete with internal competitions and leagues. Both BTECS are also part of the school and wider GEMS network's focus on providing all students with an education that will equip them for a future in an increasingly digital-led world.