Trekking on Mineski trail, NESFP pushes esports into NCAA, UAAP schools

By: Marc Anthony Reyes - Philippine Daily Inquirer | July 24,2020 - 07:30 AM

Esports, back when it was commonly called gaming, used to be written off as a distraction from learning. 

Now, it is just a few steps away from getting uploaded into a school curriculum.

With the coronavirus pandemic changing the education landscape, esports may get fast-tracked into educational institutions.

The National Electronic Sports Federation of the Philippines (NESFP) is optimistic of getting the nod of the UAAP to get esports included in its calendar after making a presentation with league officials on Tuesday, July 21, 2020.

The NESFP, recognized by the Asian governing body Asian Electronic Sports Federation, is also planning to make the same presentation to the NCAA.

It also supported the proposal to make it an alternative to physical education in a time when social distancing is a norm.

“It’s an alternative, what with the delay of opening of classes and the government’s push for online learning,” NESFP president Ramon “Tats” Suzara said.

Like chess and billiards before it, esports may not promote physical activity, but “we can’t do [face-to-face activities] these days and esports can help children boost their mental processes,” Suzara added.

It’s not a novel idea.

In March, esports supporter Mineski Global launched a partnership with the Philippine Collegiate Champions’ League (PCCL) with the same goal of integrating the sport inside the campuses of their partner universities.

Mineski, in fact, took its proposal further: It wants to enable school officials to promote responsible gaming and proper time management. That means reaching out to teachers and parents and coaching them on how to better engage gamers.

Mineski also revealed plans to set up esports labs inside schools and host a national varsity tournament for affiliates of the PCCL, which include UAAP and NCAA schools. Much of those plans, however, were stalled by the COVID-19 health crisis.

Suzara, longtime sports official and former president of Philippine Superliga, said the biggest argument for pushing esports into campuses is the success of the Southeast Asian Games last year.

Filipino esports athletes bagged three of the six gold medals disputed when the event was held as a medal sport for the first time ever.

Considered the fastest-growing industry in the world, esports campaigned for inclusion in the Paris Olympics 2024 as the International Olympic Committee pivoted toward the young demographics.

It will be included as a regular sport in the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou and the Asian Indoors Games in Thailand next year. —WITH A REPORT FROM LOUIE GREG A. RIVERA

Read: SEA Games medalist: Playing DOTA 2 is all about managing time

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