Student Maksut Gavaz wins the SURF Education Award 2018
In recognition of his co-founding and chairing of the Turing Society, master student Maksut Gavaz of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) won the SURF Education Award 2018. The awards are intended for education pioneers who contribute to the Dutch education field in their own way.
‘I was nominated for my work for the Turing Society,’ Gavaz says. ‘This is an internationally active non-profit organisation that wants to make tech education accessible for everyone. With one of our projects, called Turing Students, we organise tech bootcamps, workshops and events to help develop their tech skills.’
Gavaz got the idea for the Turing Society because he noticed a ‘gap in the current education system.’ ‘We focus so much on theory, while many students are not that interested in literature. On the other hand, businesses usually don’t go for the student who wrote the best thesis - they need people who got practical tech skills.’
Gavaz: ‘With the Turing Society, we want to prepare people for this. There are so many students who asked me: so I graduated, what do I do now? Or they did get a job, but feel like they’re not really equipped for it. We want to prepare our students for their jobs in the tech industry.
The Turing Society already expanded to other universities, even abroad. Gavaz: ‘We also started a programme at the University of Amsterdam, but also operate outside of universities now. There are also activities designed especially for primary schools, from here to Lithuania, where one of the other founders of the Turing Society moved.’
And with great success, according to Gavaz. ‘What motivates me the most is the impact we have on students. There are students who decided to go with Philosophy or Economics just because they didn’t know what they really wanted. With our events, we try to help these people to discover the possibilities of the tech industry and whether it’s something for them or not. They really opened up and said: wow, this is amazing - I wish I could have done this before.’