Story of IJSO
The idea of initiating the International Junior Science Olympiad (IJSO) was originally from the experience of our students who were success in obtaining gold medals at International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) for Junior High Students. Even though they had been trained for almost one year, and success in getting Gold Medal, but most of them were not pursue their degree in Physics at the University level. Most of them are more interesting in taking Engineering as their major. Thinking of how important science for our country, then we are thinking that we should find another way to make our young students love this subject more and more. Then we came up with an idea of starting the competition from early ages internationally. We think that by letting the students more involve in science competition, starting when they are still at junior high student, such as by creating this Junior Science Olympiad at International Level, it may encourage them to know more and more about science. It may also good experience for students to know each other when they are quite young, since young people will make friend much more easily compare with older students. After Olympiad, we hope that they will still communicating each other, either by mail or emails that now bring the countries without borders.
Thank to the Indonesian Ministry of Education, the director General for Primary and Secondary Education, and the Director of Secondary Education for their highly understanding of how important science is, and for their very strong support, especially for the financial of initiating this 1st International Junior Science Olympiad. Without their support it is not possible for me to hold this Olympiad in Indonesia. Most people thought that this Olympiad was a very ambitious program, due to the short time from the initiation to the date of the Olympiad in December 2004.
For this reason, starting last March I have been working very hard to promote this Olympiad to many places at different countries such as, Groningen-Netherlands, Paris-French, Madrid-Spain, Lisbon-Portugal, Vietnam, Montreal-Canada, Brisbane-Australia, and ended at Busan-Korea last July. Most of the team leaders of Science competitions, and also delegates who attended the meetings or conferences where I was promoting IJSO are so interested to joint. However, many of them had too little time to prepare their team members or to find the sponsor to support them to attend this Olympiad. We are also so thankful for Indonesian Garuda Airlines, who was willing to give 40% off to all participants of IJSO who fly with Garuda. This news was able to increase the number of participants of the 1st IJSO significantly.
Due the hard work that I have done and also Garuda’s offer, originally there were 44 countries had formally registered to participate the 1st IJSO in Jakarta-Indonesia. However, due to the effect of Bomb Blast in Kuningan-Jakarta, which was near to the Australian Embassy, then six countries directly withdrew their participation. Then another bad news appeared. Due to some of management problems, starting November 2004, Garuda temporarily suspended all of its flight from Europe. This news made some countries in Europe that already registered, had also to withdraw from this Olympiad, due to financially difficulties.
Finally there are only 36 participant- countries that were able to joint this 1st IJSO in Jakarta-Indonesia. But it was truly and International Olympiad, since at least one country from each continent, from America to Africa was presents at the 1st IJSO. All IOC members were working very hard to make the participantn’s stay as enjoyable as possible, starting when they step their foots in the land of Indonesia, until again they took their foots from Indonesian land, the day after the Closing Ceremony, so their visit to Indonesia will never been forgotten. All teams were come not only try to win Gold medals, but much more important was that all students were able to make friends from another part of the world, and will try to keep their friendship last forever. At the end of the Olympiad, all leaders agreed to make IJSO become an International Organization such as other Olympiad organizations, and declare that IJSO as an annually events, so our young and bright students will have many chances to meet each other in different countries. The hope is that this Olympiad will make our young students love science much more than before.
Prof.Dr. Masno Ginting
1st President of IJSO.