In 2016, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Scheme celebrates its Diamond anniversary.
The award was started in 1956 by three men, HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, the German educationalist Kurt Hahn, and Lord Hunt, who’d led the first successful ascent of Mount Everest.
The three men were concerned that, after the end of the Second World War, there were many boys with little to do between leaving school at the age of 15, and entering National Service at 18. They wanted to create an award scheme that would fill this gap and address four key areas of personal development: Rescue & Public Service Training, the Expedition, Pursuits & Projects, and Fitness.
Initially the scheme was aimed at boys only, but in 1958 girls were admitted as well. Ever since, the award has become more popular, developed and expanded to keep in touch with the interests of each new generation.
By 1971, the Award was operating in 31 countries across the Commonwealth; this had increased to 48 countries by 1988. As it spread beyond the Commonwealth, it became an International award.
In 1980, the upper age limit for the award scheme was raised from 18 to 25, and the four sections the award takers needed to complete became known as Service, Adventurous Journey, Skills and Physical Recreation. As well as these four sections, the award was split into 3 levels of achievement: Bronze (for those 14 and over), Silver (for those 15 and over) , and Gold (for those over 16 yrs) Today over 140 countries and territories participate in the award scheme.
If you are interested in taking the Duke of Edinburgh Award you can find all the details here- http://www.dofe.org/
To celebrate the Awards’ Diamond Anniversary there will be many special events taking place. To get involved you can find all the details here- http://www.dofe.org/diamond-anniversary.
Dr Kathryn Bates is a graduate of archaeology and history. She has excavated across the world as an archaeologist, and tutored medieval history at Leicester University. She joined the administrative team at Oxford Open Learning twelve years ago. Alongside her distance learning work, Dr Bates is a bestselling novelist, and an itinerant creative writing tutor for primary school children.