As part of the country’s new “Curriculum for Excellence,” schoolchildren in Scotland will be taught to design and develop their own videogames.
The move is part of an effort to ensure the continued success and growth of the Scottish videogame industry, which currently employees over 500 people and generates ₤20 million ($39.2 million) in annual revenues. Along with game design and development, students across the country will also learn to use software to create animations and feature films. While some children in Scotland are already involved in game design and animation programs, the Curriculum for Excellence program is the first set of national guidelines to be issued.
“We applaud the move to teach a better understanding of the digital age. The Leitch Review, a report instigated by the Treasury, concluded that the U.K. was falling behind other leading countries when it came to developer skills – a vital resource for the U.K. gamers industry,” said Paul Jackson, Director General of the U.K. trade body Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association. “The initiative in Scotland is clearly a step in the right direction and the Scottish government is setting a good example. We hope similar schemes will be considered for the rest of the country.”
“Programming and developing games is one of the areas in which we have traditionally done well in the U.K. – but ensuring we stay ahead among the top countries for development in the years ahead is no easy task,” he continued. “Introducing the mechanics of making and designing games in schools is one way to ensure we stand a chance of staying ahead of the curve.”
While small, the Scottish videogame industry lays claim to one of the most notorious and respected development studios in the business: Rockstar North, responsible for the Grand Theft Auto and Manhunt franchises, and in its earlier guise as DMA Design, the 1990 smash hit Lemmings and its sequels, is based out of the Scottish capital of Edinburgh.