STUDENTS from Vocational Training Council's (VTC) Technical Institutes again outnumbered other recipients in the list of awardees for this year's Duke of Edinburgh's Silver Award Scheme. Nearly 90 of the 253 participants from 11 operating authorities honoured at the 55th silver award presentation ceremony were from the Haking Wong Technical Institute, the Morrison Hill Technical Institute and the Tuen Mun Technical Institute. The technical institutes also produced the highest number of awardees last year. The award recipients have successfully shown their talent and concern for the community by fulfilling the requirements in the four sections of the scheme: service, expeditions, skills and physical recreation. Participants were most impressed by the expeditions and service sections. Lee Wai-yiu, 23, a student at the Tuen Mun Technical Institute, said he fell in love with hiking after going on an expedition to Sai Kung. ''Going on a journey to an unfamiliar place was exciting and challenging. It's full of adventure,'' Wai-yiu said. ''For a student living in the city and under a lot of pressure, it's nice to get a day off to visit the countryside. The trip was an eye-opener, and I learned to appreciate the beauty of nature.'' His schoolmate Tse Kwok-ki, 21, became a better student counsellor after joining a peer counselling programme under the scheme. ''The programme also helped me to understand myself better. While learning how to be a good counsellor, I grasped the meaning of life and became more active in voluntary services,'' Kwok-ki said. Meanwhile, 66 participants from the Scout Association of Hongkong won the award, followed by 47 from the Education Department. Guest-of-honour Mr Dominic Wong Shing-wah, Director of Education, recalled that the Education Department was the first operating authority to join the award scheme in 1971. ''The scheme offers healthy and meaningful leisure activities for young people,'' he said. ''In the course of training, participants have to face both physical and mental challenges.'' Mr Wong added that the awardees should keep up their good work and strive for the Gold Award. This year's Gold Award presentation ceremony will be held in June at the Government House. Over 70 participants will receive certificates from the Governor, Mr Chris Patten. Besides the silver awards, DEA Sailing Dinghy Assistant Instructor Certificates were presented by the chairman of the Award Council, Mr Ronald Arculli, during the ceremony. The winners were Chan Kin-wah, Go Yat-man and Chik Pui-han. The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, introduced in Hongkong in 1961, is aimed at providing young people with leisure activities and promoting personal growth and development. It is also a guide to individuals and organisations who are concerned about the development of future citizens.