European Junior Olympiad also an opportunity to socialise
Maribor, 24 August - The 3rd European Junior Olympiad in Informatics (EJOI) opened in Maribor on Saturday with a special ceremony, with the head of the Union for Technical Culture Stanislav Pejovnik noting that the event brought the best young programmers in Europe together, and that they did not measure their knowledge, but spend time together.
"What counts is the determination to know and meet other people," Pejovnik, a former chancellor of the Ljubljana University, said at the opening of the event bringing together a total of 90 primary school children from 24 countries.
"Every meeting of young people has several purposes. It would be wrong to teach children that it is only important to win. What is important in life is to know something and to understand that other people too exist in the world," he added.
This year's event is organised by the Union for Technical Culture in cooperation of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport.
Minister Jernej Pikalo told the competitors to take advantage of the competition to meet their peers and make new friendships, and also to learn about Slovenia and its second largest city Maribor.
Pikalo noted that the state was building a supercomputer centre in Maribor, which would be one of the strongest in Europe and represent a potential for further development of the city and the wider area.
"EJOI is an excellent opportunity for those who will not compete that computer sciences can be very interesting fields. We hope that one of the side effects will be that more young people will get interested in computer sciences," he added.
EJOI president Krassimir Manev expects that the young programmers who have gathered in Maribor will once be the best in the world.
Gorazd Štumberger, the dean of the Maribor Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, which will host the event as of Sunday, added he hoped that "at least some of them will become our students".
Jožef Školč of the Union for Technical Culture has said that by holding such an important international event, the union wished to make programming and IT more popular as well as attracting new IT mentors who would dedicate themselves to work with the talented youth.
The Junior Olympiad, a competition for primary schools, has emerged from the International Olympiad in Informatics, a competition with a long-standing tradition which is only open to secondary schools.
The participating teams will have four hours tomorrow and four on Tuesday to tackle three different tasks each day. The winners will be declared on Wednesday evening.