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E-sport exam stirs up public debate

People's Daily Online | Updated: 2016-11-09 09:38

An e-sport examination administered by a vocational school in Inner Mongolia has ignited online debate among Chinese netizens, with many showing great interest in the newly established major.

The exam, which is designed for students majoring in electronic competitive sports at Xilingol Vocational School, requires thorough knowledge of League of Legends, a famous online battle arena video game. Test-takers must finish the exam, consisting of multiple choice and short answer questions, within the allocated time frame.

"Before the exam, I spent one whole night trying to memorize all the theories and operating skills of the game. Without systematic study, you can't earn a good grade," He Jinduo, a student from the school, told the Beijing Times in an interview.

"The mid-term exams for e-sports cover six subjects, mainly focusing on the most popular international video games. Around 30 percent of students failed the exams this time," said Wu Hao, dean of Xilingol Vocational School.

Electronic Competitive Sports and Management was approved by the Ministry of Education as a new vocational school major in September. Since then, Xilingol Vocational School, the first school in China to offer the major, has been a hot topic online. The hashtag "E-sportMidterm" has garnered over 2.2 million page views on Sina Weibo as of press time, with most people demonstrating interest in the exam itself, while others voice concerns about gaming as a college major.

"The E-sport industry is booming worldwide. China needs more professionals to jump on the bandwagon. I think the exam has been a boon for our game players, dispelling the public's doubts about the new industry," one netizen wrote on Weibo.

Others held different opinions.

"I cannot believe e-sports is a college major. Excessive attention to video games only saps students' wills; playing games will not benefit their futures," another netizen commented.

Despite the controversy, e-sports have maintained great momentum in worldwide growth. According to a report released by SuperData Research, an analysis company, global audiences of e-sport competitions in 2015 reached 134 million, and continue to increase rapidly. China is one of the countries in which the e-sport industry has the most potential.

"We are compiling textbooks for our students now, as there is no existing material to rely on. The textbooks will cover five years of professional education, and they are expected to be released next year," said Li Ailong, a recruiter for Xilingol Vocational College.

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