The Turkish education system should integrate esports

Sports should be done for its own sake and no one should expect athletes to actively engage in politics. Doing so would put an unnecessary burden on an unrelated activity like sports, a burden which should belong to politicians.

Yet, this does not change the fact that sports can be a great tool for promoting social good, which eventually affects everyone. No one expects an athlete to actively engage in social processes, but the people who oversee social and political matters should utilize sports as a way to promote the common good.

As such, esports and digital games are the best tools that the Turkish education system can integrate to create an innovative, competitive structure - one that it has been longing for.

First, let's have a quick look at the results of the centralized university entrance exam of Turkey - the Higher Education Institutions Exam (YKS). The results this year were so catastrophic that there was not much of a debate between education experts. The performance of an average Turkish student in the preliminary exams was only two correct answers out of 20 science questions, five out of 40 math questions and six out of 20 social sciences questions.

In the second phase of the exams the average correct answers from 14 physics questions was only half a question. Now, that's obviously not saying this is related to the absence of esports, there is much more to talk about in the education system. But if one thing is clear in this picture, that is the standardized education and standardized tests are not working for Turkey.

Secondly, we need students to not only pass tests and enter university, but to develop certain skills, like problem solving, planning, creativity, flexibility and so forth, by the time they reach university age. Standardized tests, at most, offer problem solving to a limited extent, but you need to play games to improve skills like planning, creativity and flexibility. The things that children learn to pass standardized tests are not personality traits, but only information in a specific area. But, as you very well know, business life requires that you have more than just those skills to survive. A better society can only be built with people with those skills.

If you have ever played games, not only digital, you would know what we are talking about. Games are essential in learning, and it is much easier to teach children via playing than preaching. But what make digital games a much better option is that you are not limited with the real world you live in. Imagine an open-world game like Minecraft, a game in which you can literally do whatever you want, (build wonders, grow food or make art, you name it) what could be better than this to unleash a child's imagination?

Or think of Europa Universalis 4, a challenging strategy game, in which you need to plan each step to achieve what you want, tell me a better way to improve planning? Or think of mobile games in which you need to pop bubbles as fast as you can, is not it a great way to improve speed and accuracy of judgement? What about the foreign language, history and general culture bonuses some digital games have. Which standardized method can offer these precious traits?

Thirdly, you can now create simulations of almost all professions on digital platforms. The aviation industry has been utilizing this technology to a great extent for decades now. You can't jump into a plane without first perfecting your skills on simulators.

Today the Turkish youth are unfortunately making crucial career choices with insufficient knowledge about the route they are taking. Young people are choosing careers without talking to people who already have experience. To stop people from making career decisions based solely on money, there should be a way to make young people experience the professions they are interested in. Creating a virtual copy of each profession would allow the younger generations to experience the job firsthand. It would at least give them the main picture.

These observations make it clear that esports and digital gaming have a great potential in improving the Turkish education system. Esports and digital gaming should not be frightening concepts for parents, they are only tools. Just like it does not make sense to claim that football is the opium of the masses, it can't be said that esports creates asocial and unhealthy individuals. They are tools, and what matters is how you use them. The right hands should take the control of this tool and utilize it for the good of everyone. Only then, can we see how beneficial it could be for all of us.

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