Teaching Malaysian youth about waste

Khor.

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How many of us have complained about the habit of Malaysians littering in public places? Zero Waste Malaysia (ZWM), a non-profit organisation that advocates sustainable living, is hoping to change the situation by educating youth on how to deal with waste properly through an engaging virtual classroom and lesson plan.

Launched yesterday, ZWM’s lesson plan consists of five 60-minute modules that target youth from 11 to 17 years of age. The five modules explain the concept of waste, where waste goes, the different types of waste, how much waste is produced, and what we can do about it.

The modules include audio and visual aids, as well as an activity sheet that is designed in alignment with the Malaysian Secondary School Standard Curriculum. All contents are available in English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil.

“We had plans to do this last year after we published the zero waste office and event handbook. Our mission is to become a platform for people to understand the zero waste movement, and we want to educate the youth,” Khor Sue Yee, a co-founder of ZWM, tells Enterprise.

“The initial planning stages of the lesson plan were all done by ZWM volunteers. Many of them had backgrounds in education. We later received funding from the Korea Safety Health Environment Foundation, which enabled us to expand our impact.”

The educational modules can be downloaded for free on ZWM’s website. Parents or teachers can use the modules to teach children at home, in school or virtually. They can refer to the user guide and lesson plan included in each module. 

Screenshots of ZWM's lesson plan.

With the grant funding, ZWM is also conducting free virtual classrooms, called Wira Zero Waste (W0W), for up to 360 students from August to October 2020 via Telegram Messenger or WhatsApp Messenger.

Khor says they have chosen to use these two platforms because not every student has access to laptops or computers. There are three sessions of W0W, each lasting five weeks. Students who enrol will be taught one module a week, and at the end of the session, participants will obtain virtual badges and a certification of completion.

Students who are interested in W0W have to apply via ZWM’s website. Availability is on a first-come-first-serve basis with priority given to students from public schools.

Meanwhile, ZWM’s is also looking to recruit facilitators with experience in teaching and are able teach in English or Bahasa Malaysia for W0W. 

Khor is interested in expanding the project and reaching out to more students. 

“It would be great if we can use an open learning platform to host the modules. Students can then learn by themselves on the platform,” she says.

“We also hope the Ministry of Education can incorporate this module into classrooms. Now, it’s designed so that it can be opted into the curriculum, but it’s still optional.”