Over the last few years, Blockchain is garnering attention from all over the world. It is one of the most impactful technological developments in the last decade, just like the internet in the mid-’90s and smartphones in late 2000. This is mainly due to its unique features such as decentralization, security, reliability, and data integrity. Beyond its conventional use i.e. in the finance sector, Blockchain is being implemented across various industries and fields. Education is yet another sector where Blockchain can be of valuable help.
Education plays a crucial role in the development of our world and also in shaping a knowledge-based society. The future of science, medicine, agriculture, and every technological advancement of a country is dependent on that country’s education levels. This is why it’s important to create a transparent and robust educational system.
All over the world, there are millions of students undertaking education in various institutions in a year. Maintaining records of all those student details while keeping their privacy is a huge task. Plus, it takes a lot more time to recollect the old data and records if everything is recorded on paper. Securely storing and maintaining certificates of students is another difficult task educational institutions face. These certificates must be universally acceptable and verifiable. On top of that, companies, employers and educational institutions have to be cautious against fake certificates and diplomas. At present, it is very difficult to verify the authenticity of a certificate.
Blockchain is a decentralized public ledger that automatically records and verifies transactions. It means the information is distributed and is not stored on a central location and the entries in Blockchain can be verified with a single click. Every entry to the Blockchain is immutable. Once the information is fed in the ledger, it gets time-stamped and changing this information becomes nearly impossible.
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Blockchain Technology helps the education sector mainly by securing the verification process of academic credentials, providing secured and cheaper data storage solutions for keeping records and facilitating a transparent method for sharing valuable information. Blockchain provides greater control for students and educational institutions over their data. Since the information stored in the Blockchain is immutable and time-stamped, it’s safer to share information without the fear of information getting compromised and students will have more sovereignty over their information. Blockchain also ensures the authenticity of the stored information since it’s nearly impossible to modify the information stored in the Blockchain network. By storing and sharing academic information via Blockchain, the need for a central controlling authority to manage and keep records can be avoided.
With Degree certificates still based on paper, it is very easy to forge a certificate. Skilled forgers are developing new techniques constantly to make sure that the forged degrees are undetectable. It is estimated that in the US alone around 200,000 fake diplomas are sold every year. To this day, verification of diplomas and other important documents is a manual process. Using Blockchain technology for storing information about one’s educational certificates, will make faking the documents impossible.
Moreover, paper-based education diplomas, school certificates, and other training course certificates can either get lost or destroyed in natural calamities such as a flood. Even the original can be lost over time. This can be avoided by issuing digital certificates using blockchain. Blockchain-based certificates would make it much easier for potential employers and universities to verify the degrees and save valuable time and money. It also ensures better data integrity.
Accucerts is a blockchain-based certification platform offering digital traceability of certification process for enhanced and authentic certifications. Accucerts enables academic as well as corporate organizations to boost up their credibility by issuing unforgeable certificates.
Academic credentials must be universally recognized and verifiable. In terms of bureaucracy, the education system in many countries is complicated and time-consuming. Most students are familiar with the slow speeds and high fees involved in requesting transcripts for higher education or job applications. Many institutions still rely on postal services to send transcripts and charge a huge fee for every request. On the other hand, verification of transcripts and other important documents is still a manual process.
By using blockchain to send transcripts, educational institutions can save time and money. The authenticity of the transcript can be easily verified without any delay. It also makes sure that the information is protected from hackers and unauthorized persons. Blockchain solutions could streamline verification procedures and make sure there are no fraudulent claims of unearned educational credits.
One reality of the educational system is that a lot of learning takes place outside of the classroom. However, a typical academic record doesn’t encapsulate that learning process. Blockchain allows students to create a secure collection of all competency indicators such as academic records, badges, certificates, citations, letters of recommendation, etc. It’s like an updatable and verifiable yet immutable e-portfolio of a student. At the same time, one can only access this information with the owner’s consent. This can be shared with employers.
Putting the educational information of a potential employee on Blockchain will give clarity to employers about his or her level of knowledge. This method of proof-checking will help to eliminate low qualified professionals especially in professions such as doctors, lawyers, and engineers where a high level of knowledge is required. Employers don’t have to rely on Internet-accessible databases.
With the use of Blockchain, academics and scientists can create a decentralized education platform maintained by consensus instead of a central authority. It provides an opportunity for a peer-to-peer exchange of learning experience and leads to standardization across educational establishments. Moreover, the Blockchain-based platform can protect digital assets and rights. Blockchain’s ability to protect, manage and share information is ideal for research students, professors and other scholars to create intellectual property. They can share it securely and can control the way it’s being used. Similar to how professors are rewarded based on citations in research papers and journals, they could be rewarded based on the actual use, and reuse, of their teaching materials stored in the Blockchain. Blockchain will also be critical in the evolution of ‘content repositories’. In other words, it will create the next generation of libraries.
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Blockchain technology clearly has wide applications in the educational sector even at the individual, institutional, group, national & international levels. It can address some of the common challenges of the educational field such as transparency, authenticity, and reliability. Blockchain solutions can be used to build a decentralized, transparent and robust educational system that caters to everyone. Many universities around the world have already started adopting Blockchain technology to solve their problems. As the world is getting smarter and connected, it is time to make the education sector also smarter and digital.