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The Rise of ‘billion – dollar eSports industry’ in Higher Education: Murdoch University

Kenya is leading the charge in the growth of gaming in Eastern and Central Africa. According to a report by the Gaming Industry in Africa, the country raked in a whopping US$38 million in revenues from gaming in 2021, making it the fourth largest market in Africa after South Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana.

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By Steve UMIDHA

The world of esports is exploding in Kenya, according to industry observers with an increasing number of young people achieving success in competitive gaming.

Although it may not be as popular as traditional sports, esports is fast gaining momentum — from diverse gaming models, innovative content development and dynamic relationships with the creative economy.

Esports, or competitive video games, is a growing industry both locally and internationally.

As a result of its popularity, an increasing number of students are now seeking relevant careers abroad to broaden their skills in the sector with Australia now a preferred learning destination for learners.

Professor Deborah Gare, from Murdoch University, Australia says plans are now afoot between Kenya and Australia to review visa requirements for Kenyan students wishing to study in Australia, with institutions like Murdoch University now enticing learners with affordable tuition fees as well as flexible integration programs that see learners transition into the Australian labour market with affluence.

Upon graduating with an esports major, students can pursue a wide range of career paths in the gaming and esports industries.

Speaking in Nairobi at a breakfast meeting with its local agents, Deborah said that the number of students seeking such opportunities has been on the rise with as many now keen on moving to Australia to advance such careers.

For instance, students can work in game design, programming, art and animation, quality assurance, event management, digital marketing, journalism, broadcasting, and education, among others.

Additionally, Deborah says internships, scholarships, and networking events are available to students who pursue an esports major, providing them with the chance to gain practical, hands-on experience, build important relationships, and connect with industry professionals.

Work-integrated learning has also emerged as one of the vital pathways to employment, offering the future workforce the essential experience and attributes needed to make a positive difference, which explains why learners are seeking foreign studies, according to Omar Mohamed – the managing director of EduCare International, a student recruitment agency in East Africa.

This major provides students with the ability to build on the comprehensive business administration core with skills in game design and game management. Students master the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the increasing variety of esports organizations and businesses that complement the industry.

International students are able to work part time while they study, allowing them to offset their living costs,” said Canor Murphy, Regional Manager, Murdoch University.

“At Murdoch we offer scholarships for a range of students including: international students. Students facing financial hardship. Students with records of high achievement,” says John Miriti – an Associate Regional Manager (Africa).

The study – abroad initiatives are also driven by the fact that over 700,000 KCSE 2023 candidates are set to miss University placements for various reasons, according to Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Services (KUCCPS) – the body charged with admitting students to public universities.

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