Blockchain technologies in education

Blockchain technologies in education

Blockchain-based technologies in cryptocurrencies have recently moved from financial sector to other areas, it can be seen applied in medicine, elections and education. The use of distributed ledger technology provides advantages such as security and transparency, which led to the emergence of digital documents of education based on them.

As the website indicator.ru reads, blockchain-based digital diplomas have several advantages. One of the key ones is verifiability. Diplomas on the blockchain can be checked and verified in a matter of minutes. For this, no need to go to the archives and find paper documents. With just one click from any device, a potential employer can read all the information about a vacancy position candidate: his specialization, graduation date, academic performance, internships and university successes.

It allows the employer to easily access detailed information about the candidate. In addition, the blockchain, due to decentralized technologies used, makes it almost impossible to forge a diploma. The principles on which distributed ledger technology is based leave no way to modify the education document. It can significantly reduce the level of academic fraud.

There are benefits not only for employers, but also for graduates. Firstly, diplomas based on blockchain can not be disappeared, as their existence is ensured by the very principle of blockchain network functioning, they cannot be lost, accidentally torn or spoiled in any other way.

Secondly, a graduate do not need to deal with unnecessary papers, collect them from archives or request extracts from the university, since all information is already stored in electronic form..

The first digital diploma debuts were in 2015. The pioneer was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Institute-based MIT Media Lab had begun issuing the first digital certificates to his team. The laboratory, in cooperation with Learning Machine, an education technology company, provided the technological support to drive and promote the digital diplomas.

In October 2016, the Media Lab developed an open-source toolkit called Blockcerts, It enabled students to quickly and easily get a verifiable, tamper-proof version of their diploma, certificate, award. To ensure the security of the digital diploma, the pilot utilizes the same blockchain technology that powers the digital currency Bitcoin. As of today, the MIT Media Lab is no longer involved in Blockcerts, while Learning Machine, which was re-branded as Hyland Credentials, remained the main project manager.

Many countries expressed their interest in Blockcerts. Already on January 24, 2017, the Ministry of Education and Employment of Malta announced the launch of a pilot project to transfer all educational documents, including university degrees, to the blockchain. The small island nation was the first country in Europe to deploy blockchain in education, and has since become the world leader in digital diplomas.

Following the US institute and Malta, the Blockcerts standard began to be tested at the Australian University in Melbourne. In 2018, digital diplomas based on the Blockcerts standard began to be issued in 16 English-speaking countries of the Caribbean, including Barbados and Jamaica, for example. Then Malaysia joined the trend.

In 2019, the University of Bahrain began to issue digital diplomas anchored to the blockchain using the Blockcerts open standard. The new project involved the transfer of all educational documents to the blockchain, including, for example, certificates of secondary education.

Since 2019, 18 educational institutions in Singapore have also begun issuing digital diplomas. And the Swiss University of St. Gallen announced the start of testing a blockchain system to reduce the level of higher education diplomas fraud. Similar reasons prompted universities in Bavaria to turn to blockchain. Muroran Institute of Technology and language schools in Japan have also launched blockchain platforms from Sony, subsidiary of Sony Global Education, to ensure the authenticity of diplomas and language proficiency certificates.

The open international standard W3C Verifiable Credentials enables students to collect and save in one place all their educational achievements, whatever they may be – university degrees to certificates on course completion. It defines the compilation, release and verification of any digital information and documentation that is cryptographically validated and published on the blockchain.

This standard is supported by the world’s leading universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University (USA), the University of Toronto (Canada), the Technical University of Munich (Germany), and the Singapore University of Management (Singapore).

In 2020, the list of countries that use blockchain technologies to issue and store diplomas continued to expand. Obviously, this trend will spread over time in other countries of the world, which aims for the digital transformation of the economy and social sphere.

Gozel SAKHATOVA