The Toyota Eco Youth (TEY) programme was recently launched at the Concorde Hotel Shah Alam. The event was officiated by Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching, the Deputy Minister of Education, on behalf of Dato Seri Idris Jusoh, Education Minister II; Datuk Ismet Suki, President of UMW Toyota Motor and Mr. Akio Takeyama, Deputy Chairman of UMW Toyota Motor.
To mark its 15th year, Toyota Eco Youth (TEY) 2015 participants across 16 schools were presented with the theme of waste management and a new challenge which serves to raise the eco contest to a new level.
According to Datuk Ismet, the theme was chosen because of the massive problems caused by waste. He hoped that having a thematic focus would drive innovative ideas and concepts with potential for community and national use. Apart from the key elements of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, more can be done to optimise the management of various categories of waste.
“World Environment Day is celebrated every year around the world in June, and Malaysia has been an active participant all along. In UMW Toyota, we believe that taking care of the environment is a continuous process,” said Datuk Ismet.
This is in line with the Toyota philosophy of Kaizen, a Japanese word meaning ‘continuous improvement’. In Toyota, Kaizen is achieved by adopting their proprietary 8-Step Problem-solving Methodology, which is a step-by-step way to identify problems, look at possible solutions, plan implementation methods and document results.
“The methodology can be used in any situation, and some teachers have shared that they have used it in their teaching as well to improve students’ grades. To date, close to 200 schools of more than 1,500 students and teachers have benefitted from it directly, and many continue to practise it in their daily lives today”, explained Datuk Ismet.
Datuk Mary lauds the Toyota Eco Youth programme, stating that it fully embodies a perfect private-public partnership. “The severe floods in the East Coast, which was caused by excessive and unregulated land clearing, has affected more than half a million people and made countless families homeless. Although development is necessary for any country, sustainability practices must also be in place to avoid man-made environmental woes,” she stressed.
The TEY programme, established in 2001, was initially a school-based eco contest where participating students identified and resolved environmental problems within the school compound. In the year 2011 when TEY programme was extended to the local community so as to widen its reach.
“We are surprised and pleased to see improving standards in the projects conducted over the years,” said Datuk Ismet. In the last 5 years, the students not only provided solutions to their local communities but also successfully roped in their local councils, corporations, media and other experts in their projects.
Winning schools will receive RM10, 000 for the grand prize, RM 7,000 for second prize, and RM5, 000 for third prize winner. Apart from working on projects that can impress the judges, participating students also need to conduct proper documentation of their progress through their blogs, as well as prepare a presentation during the closing ceremony in October 2015. Marks are given for project management, blog content, final presentation and impact on stakeholders.