In international schools worldwide, students are offered the unique opportunity to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Awards Program. Eastwood School is the best school in Lebanon and the only one in this country to conduct this prestigious program.
The Duke of Edinburgh Program was launched in 1956 in England. It was mentored by none other than Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. It was also spearheaded by two other persons- Lord Hunt and Kurt Hahn. Combing their talents and experience in outdoor and physical activity, they believed in the value of making efforts to push one’s own boundaries. Boys were encouraged to participate, and after 2 years, girls joined in the fun.
After this, the program was launched globally. Over the last half century, the program has spread in 240 countries worldwide. Outside England, this program is conducted under the aegis of the International Award Foundation of the Duke of Edinburgh.
This award is a systematized program for finishing milestones of total personal development in a documented mode, with oversight. It teaches youth to select an achievable goal, endeavour for it and see through it, till the end. Each level of the award includes regular physical activity, volunteer service, and learning a new skill. At the end of each goal-setting routine, which gets tougher at each level, students are taken on an Adventurous Journey, which is a wilderness hiking and camping trip.
The following are the sample of activities, which count towards the Duke of Edinburgh Award in the levels and categories.
LEVEL: Bronze Award (minimum age of 14)
Service: one hour a week through 13 weeks. Work towards a community service like volunteering for youth, student council or school yearbook.
Skill: one hour per week through 13 weeks. Developing a fresh skill like learning to cook, acquiring a musical ability, learning a foreign language, coding simple software program, etc.
Physical recreation: one hour per week, through 13 weeks. Performing an athletic activity like football, swimming, etc.
Extra 13 weeks: one extra hour a week devoted to any of the above categories.
These are wilderness trips of two groups, each spanning 2 days and 1 night. The first part of the trip is a ‘Practice journey’ and the second part is a ‘Qualifying journey’. Both trips need route planning for minimum 10 km (map and compass reading), first aid skills and purposeful goals. The students’ camp and cook on their own. Adults accompany the group but are out of sight. Purposes include cleaning up the environment or collecting samples for biology class.
LEVEL: Silver Award (begins at age 15)
The needs of this award are the same as above, except for timing:
Service, Skill and Physical recreation: one hour a week for 26 weeks for each.
Extra one hour for 26 weeks only for those who didn’t reach the Bronze level.
Adventurous journey: 3 days and 2 nights for both ‘Practice Journey’ and ‘Qualifying Journey’.
LEVEL: Gold Award (begins at age 16)
Service, Skill and Physical recreation: one hour a week through 52 weeks for each.
Extra 26 weeks: if students didn’t complete silver award
Adventurous journey: 4 days and 3 nights for both ‘PracticeJourney’ and ‘Qualifying Journey’.
These are the basics of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. It is totally elective and must be completed outside school hours. The teamwork and leadership skills acquired by this program are exceptional.