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The Duke of Edinburgh Program: Helping Students Discover their Infinite Potention


On October 19th, ISP held an awards ceremony for students who had achieved their Bronze or Silver medals in the Duke of Edinburgh program. The goal of the event was to come together as an Upper School, present students with their certificate and badge, and celebrate their great achievement.

The Duke of Edinburgh celebration ceremony was fantastic, and we are so proud of our ISP students whose hardwork and perseverance supported their success in this journey!

Acknowledging students’ application and diligence is a pleasure ISP is happy to indulge in. 

The Duke of Edinburgh program is a program of cultural and adventurous activities open to all high school students. Those who sign up log hours for the respective levels of Bronze, Silver and Gold, in the fields of service, physical recreation, and skill. This allows them to dedicate themselves to certain long term goals, and manage their time in order to achieve them.

At the end of the year, students organize and complete a hike from 2 to 4 days long, entirely without adult supervision or aid. This presents a challenge for most, but ultimately strengthens the team bond, and their independence.

The Duke of Edinburgh Award was first announced in February 1956, as “for boys” aged 15 to 16. It was set up by HRH Prince Philip, Kurt Hahn, a German educationalist, and Lord John Hunt, who led the first successful ascent of Mount Everest in 1953. The program catered to boys who hadn’t wanted to join the Scouts Association, or other British youth movements, as it wasn’t required to wear a uniform or join an organization in order to participate. 7,000 boys enrolled in just the first 12 months.  By Hahn’s design, the award was set up into four sections; Rescue & Public Service Training, the Expedition, Pursuits & Projects, and Fitness. After it was first launched, there was a great demand for a similar program to be created for girls, which was launched in 1958.  The first Gold Awards were achieved in 1958, and the charity was established in 1959.

The Duke of Edinburgh Award was able to go global soon after, as by 1971 the Award operated in 31 countries; and this had increased to 48 countries by 1989. This quick growth of the program led to the development of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award International Association (IAA) in 1988. It came to the Czech Republic in 1995 under the name EDIE at 30 institutions, mostly secondary schools. The DofE programme is supported by famous Czech figures, such as adventurer Jakub Vágner, mountain climber Klara Kolouchová, fashion designer Tatiana Kovaříková and many others. Today, the program is active in over 120 countries, 60 of these on a national level.

It prides itself on being an award for all young people, and is continuing to expand in order to accommodate students who are differently abled and of all nationalities and backgrounds.

The impact of the program cannot be understated, – it changes kids’ lives! 

Speaking from personal experience, the Duke of Edinburgh program was one of the most influential and happiest adventures I could’ve wished for. It wasn’t just challenging physically, but also provided me countless opportunities to grow into a more responsible, ambitious and caring individual. Additionally, it improved my survival skills, and only strengthened my love and respect for the wilderness. I couldn’t recommend it enough. 

“I have so many memories from our final Silver hike last year, so it’s hard to choose just one to speak about. I suppose one of the highlights was a specific day – I think it was the first day of our hike, and it was extremely hot outside so the trek was much harder than expected. Nevertheless, we eventually arrived at our campsite, which, by a miracle, had a lake of sorts situated within it. So, soon after we arrived and set up our tents, we plunged right in–some with more enthusiasm than others! And at last we were able to enjoy the blissful coolness of the water. By then it was evening, and there weren’t too many people, and we were shivering and laughing in equal measure. We spent that evening swimming and splashing each other, coaxing each person further into the murky water. I don’t think I’d ever laughed so much and been so cold. It was one of those experiences that really bonded us together and made our group great friends.”

SOFIA, 11th grade

“DofE has allowed me to form really strong friendships with people who I’d never expected such connections with; the different challenges we went through as a group only served to strengthen those connections, and I’m really grateful even for what went ‘wrong.”

JANA, 11th grade

“DofE was a very enriching experience that taught me a variety of new life skills beyond the classroom. Plus, the hike was just a fun experience overall.”

AHAAN, 11th grade

If you’re interested in joining the Duke of Edinburgh program, please contact Ms. Malinova at smalinova@isp.cz, and get started with logging your hours!