Meet the Ambassadors: Szabolcs Mizsei, Hungary
Publication date: September 19, 2014
Over 70 EU Code Week Ambassadors from 34 countries are helping us spread the word about #codeEU throughout Europe. Who are they and why did they get involved in Code Week? We’ll be running a series of interviews and get to know them better. Our previous interviewee, Adil Tuğyan from Turkey, interviewed Szabolcs Mizsei from Hungary.
Szabolcs, who are you?
I’m an economist, a father of two and work as a digital transformation expert at http://www.xapt.hu/, a regional IT solution-provider.
How does your country deal with this idea of code learning?
Well, we have our ups and downs. Traditionally, we had strong mathematical and analitic backround in elementary, but we somehow still seem to miss the dynamics of technology-based creative and structural learning methodes. It starts somewhere between age 8 and 16 and we start really underperforming in higher education.
There is a widely communicated misunderstanding among policy-makers that kids would learn this “stuff” anyways so why bother.
Why are you involved as a EU Code Week ambassador? What do you expect from it?
Coding is not a magic tool for all educational and social problems but it is certainly a great way to experience one’s ability to create some order in the complexity of an unstructured environment such as our world. We all have to do that on a daily basis all the way, don’t we? It is a great way also to have an early stage inspiration of creativity, provide an equal chance to create competitiveness for our Z-generation and beyond.
So in all, I got involved since I believe that coding is a great and open door for individuals and social competitiveness and the commitment of all code week ambassadors have reinforced this strong belief of mine that it’s worth making this event bigger and stronger.
First I was asked to become active in Code Week events by a civil organisation. Then I gradually got the flow of making things change, create somehow a common effort for the whole industry and the kids themselves. As getting to know more and more independent creative people, engineers, teachers having the same idea about coding, their persistent work almost demanded me to go further day after day.
I have no expectations in the sense that it is simply time to say our words against technophobia. One day after another. We also have to orchestrate civil and industry efforts and give our support to teachers and parents who really need it because they feel so alone and they lack our support.
So in another sense, yes, I have high expectations. EU Code Week is a very clear signal that the knowledge and the will is absolutely here at this continent. After spending 6 years in public policy making, I know we must really help our politicians and policy-makers to learn. They will gradually learn how and when to start using the creativity of this live and strong community. It is also time to learn from the U.K. and Estonian experience.
I personally do not believe in investment plans and buzzwords created in a month time. I do believe in systematic thinking, testing, sharing, arguing and collaborating so in this new-age adaptive learning in general. This is how we can be wiser, richer as an individual, a nation and also as a continent.
I am also a father of two. So a bit concerned about their future as well. There are a couple of structural inbalances we have to be aware of. As an economist, I see numbers and processes. Higher education can not provide enough talent at the moment. In parallel local start-ups and multinational are in a desperate need of qualified programmers. These two players are our “first line of aliance” but should never forget that there is no SME competitiveness if the first two groups leave no room for hiring technology expert in traditional SME players. Who is going to innovate our SME’s if there is no innovative knowledgeable experts and managers ready to fight on a global scale?
Not only in Hungary but in the whole EU I perceive a huge misunderstanding of what micro-level competitiveness means and how strongly it is linked and intercorrelated to missing ICT investments and digital transformation of SME’s.
It is not only a question of personnel but also It requires a completely new mindset, the mindset of the digital era.
Do you have a hero or someone that inspires you (can be a hacker or not)?
I have many, teachers, program coordinators, coders, hackers. There are so many great fellows in the industry! They all speak a common language and fell their support all the way. We have had great methodological discussions about learning platforms and the complexity of the whole education system. but I must name the two most important partners who have given daily inspiration to me during the whole preparation work.
This whole preparation work would not be possible without Mr Adam Horvath, the leader of the education branch at ICT Association of Hungary. He is a programmer, a wise father and a strong advocate. The second and most important partner is really my wife, Eszter Mizsei, who provides content, all sorts of advice and publicity for the course of events on our Facebook site. Thank you, and thank you, ambassadors!