Becoming Productive Citizens, – Dr Kurt Hahn and the Duke Edinburgh Award

When academic administrator Dr. Kurt Hahn came to Scotland after fleeing persecution in Nazi-era Germany, he immediately looked to support and teach the youth of England through curriculum and developing moral character.

Established as the British Salem School of Gordonstoun in 1934, Hahn would soon have his first-class of boys competing in skills and events designed to build their sense of character and teamwork.

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Challenges like first aid, navigation, and fitness courses to test students’ abilities while teaching life lessons for adulthood.

Completion of all events earned the coveted Moray Badge, named after the local estate, and that first batch of recipients included England royalty in young Prince Philips.

Later in his life, Philip would be pressed by Hahn to make the Moray Badge a more national endeavor, and soon chartered the retitled Duke Edinburgh Award in 1956 under Sir John Hunt as administrator.

By this time the award featured content similar to the original with rescue training and volunteer work made qualifiers along with expeditionary challenges.

The award has garnered a large pool of candidates since its founding, with the program undergoing expansion and policy change to reach wider audiences overseas.

Today the candidate pool includes middle school to college-age participants as well as women to compete at the same level as men.

Over a thousand recipients have received their award for their participation since the first Moray Badge was given and continues to draw in the youth of diverse backgrounds to compete in the various challenges.

Hahn notes that when first starting his school, he aimed to lead students to develop a personal ethos and moral structures that would make them productive citizens by giving them a way to find purpose and moral standing at the developmental time in their lives.

The Gordonstoun boarding school accepts students at the junior level and teaches them broad categories ranging from English and grammar to modern sciences and languages.

The school has high regard by English education officials and remains a prized Institute by Prince Philip and the Royal Family.

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