The Toyota Eco Youth (TEY) programme marks another year of environmental activities for 16 participating schools nationwide. Now in its 14th year, this year UMW Toyota Motor announced an increase in the winning prizes, to the delight of all. The winning schools will now receive RM10,000 for the grand prize, RM7,000 for second prize, and RM5,000 for third prize winner.
According to Datuk Ismet, the increase in prize money was to motivate participants to do even better by coming up with creative and sustainable innovations with market value that can withstand the test of time.
“When we first started, our idea is to create eco champions and agents of change in schools. With the participants’ overwhelming enthusiasm and initiative, we extended the programme to include local communities in 2011 when the programme celebrated its tenth anniversary,” said Datuk Ismet.
The key idea is to empower students with critical thinking skills through the Toyota 8-Step Problem Solving Methodology, so that they will grow into proactive young men and women who will tackle problems heads-on instead of waiting for solutions from authorities or someone else.
Director-General of Education, Datuk Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof lauds the Toyota Eco Youth as a programme with the potential to change the perceptions and lives of people and communities nationwide. Many of TEY’s elements are similar to what is planned in the Malaysia Education Development Plan that will be implemented from 2013 to 2025.
Development and progress are necessary to improve a country’s standard of living, yet they must be conducted ethically and responsibly, not at the expense of Mother Nature. “Decisions and actions made today will have an impact upon the future generations. Conversely, the lack of decisive actions today will one day snowball into an uncontrollable environmental problem in the future” he said.
Datuk Ismet reminded participants that everything that we enjoy today such as clean water and air, green forests, a wide biodiversity did not happen automatically. They were concerted efforts by caring people in the past to plant trees and save our rivers or seas from pollution, which is in line with the Guiding Principles of Toyota Motor Corporation to adopt initiatives that contribute to harmonious and sustainable development of society in all aspects.
Established in 2001, the TEY programme started off with 8 schools around the Klang Valley. The programme was later extended to involve schools nationwide. In 2011, the programme was expanded to involve the local community.
Participating students will be tasked to find creative and practical solutions to the environmental problems faced by their immediate communities and to engage the involvement of the locals in their efforts.
They also had to document their experiences and share them in the Toyota Eco Youth blog to gain support and publicity, as well as present the entire project during the closing ceremony at the end of the year. Marks are given for project management, blog content, final presentation and impact on stakeholders.