Blockchain in Education
In all of the world’s developed countries, the field of education is a central focus. This is due to the fact that the future of other important areas, including science, medicine, agriculture, industry and almost all others, is dependent on the country’s education levels.
Despite the remarkable developments in robotics and Internet and IT technologies, human resources are still the most precious resource to almost any business. Contrary to popular opinion, advanced technologies help to improve the sphere of personnel training and solve a lot of problems.
Not only private but also many state educational institutions are either getting ready to implement blockchain-based tools, or they are conducting research which will enable the strengths and weaknesses of implementing blockchain technology in education to be identified. Let us review the issues faced in the field of education, ways of solving them using blockchain technology, and examples of perspectives on implementing blockchain technology in this field.
Blockchain Replaces Paper
An incontestable advantage of blockchain technology most often discussed is that it will make the dematerialization of documents possible. It is also expected to aid in avoiding the risk of losing or falsifying paper documents.
Paper-based higher education diplomas, school certificates and extra training course certificates get lost and the original can be lost over time. Once put in blockchain, the information about a student’s grades and the courses that have been undertaken will not get lost, and it is impossible to change or falsify the information. At the same time, one can easily access this information with the owner’s consent.
Nowadays, the field of education is in need of central authorities to focus on checking certificates. Every day, educational institutions have to process thousands of requests from different educational organizations for sending copies of documents. They want to make sure the person has in fact graduated from a certain university.
Putting information about education into blockchain will remove doubt for employers about an employee’s level of knowledge. Using blockchain technology for storing information about one’s level of education will make faking a diploma impossible. It is effective because it will solve the problem of low qualification levels of doctors, lawyers, engineers, economists and other popular occupations for which a formal education is required.
A database can be established, which will include a person’s skills, courses or training which have been completed and lectures which have been attended. Thanks to this database, employers will be able to obtain and filter information about an employee’s knowledge quickly and easily, with no doubt as to its relevance or reliability.
Nowadays, recruitment for specific positions is a time-consuming and complex process. There is no single algorithm able to narrow the search down to only those applicants with the required knowledge.
Rather than accumulating papers and certificates in education over their lifetime, people will be able to record information in blockchain, which will make it available to employers anywhere in the world.
In addition to the issuance of diplomas and certificates, educational institutions have to keep a paper record of students’ progress for the entire duration of their study, thus creating a burden on the teaching and administrative personnel as well as a lot of bureaucratic impediments.
Blockchain for Saving
Of course, diplomas and certificates comprise only an insignificant share of all the paper on the planet, but in eliminating even this insignificant share many public and private institutions will be able to reduce their expenses on printed products.
The cost of paper and printing itself is not the only item of expenditure related to documents received upon completing an education. Major institutions and schools spend enormous amounts on storing this information.
With blockchain, the right to control and store applicants’ personal data will be transferred to the applicants themselves, which will greatly help educational institutions. By removing the burden on educational institutions to reliably and responsibly store documents and provide access to them at the request of employers and authorities, blockchain will help to save millions or even billions of dollars as well as an incredible number of hours of labor.
The loss and damage of documents in education is quite a common basis for litigation, which results in financial costs and wasted time. This negative aspect can also be eliminated with the introduction of blockchain technology.
Financing education and blockchain
Cryptocurrencies and financial services are the most obvious and popular uses for blockchain technology. The prospects for introducing blockchain into the education sector include not only the development of separate, narrowly targeted solutions, but also the adjustment of cryptocurrencies for use in educational institutions.
Financial accounting is a very important component in the work of schools, universities and other educational institutions. Blockchain technology will improve the system for calculating scholarships for students and salaries for teachers, and will provide a transparent and fair mechanism for funding grants and projects.
Uses and Prospects
The most forward-looking educational institutions have already embarked on improving the sphere, enabled by modern technologies.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is the world leader in training specialists of the highest level in a variety of technical areas. Within the framework of the pilot project for the implementation of blockchain, the institute has issued one hundred digital diplomas for its graduates.
A pioneer in introducing full-scale implementation of blockchain in order to improve education is the University of Nicosia, the largest private higher education institution in Cyprus. The university has already implemented a fully-functioning blockchain library for storing all information about students’ grades, as well as their diplomas and certificates.
Another manifestation of the University’s loyalty to the new technologies lies in the ability of students to pay school fees using bitcoin. On the Internet, university courses are available to applicants from almost one hundred countries, and diplomas and certificates are recognized by employers practically all over the world, since the university is a member of the European Universities Association and the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education .
The European Union has also expressed interest in using blockchain for educational purposes. The Special Commission studied the prospects for this and published a report on “Blockchain in Education.” This document analyzes the value of the technology, its possible risks, as well as the prospects and options for using blockchain to accredit participants of personal and academic school training. The Commission believes that the technical base for the technology’s application in the education sector have not yet been sufficiently developed, but the prospects are promising — in the very near future, blockchain will really be able to solve many problems.
As mentioned above, it is the falsification of medical school diplomas that is considered one of the biggest problems around the world. The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) has officially launched the pilot program, which entitles students to receive digital certificates over the course of their training.
First designed as an international marketplace platform, TeachMePlease saw the prospect of introducing blockchain into the educational process before others did. Together with the developers of Cardano, they have now launched the Disciplina blockchain project.
With the help of technology, this new resource will provide simple and efficient interaction between applicants at educational institutions and private teachers, as well as HR managers, while also being responsive to their needs. Universal and international mechanisms for interaction between all these participants will provide a good example of how pressing problems in the industry can be solved with the help of blockchain, and will inspire other institutions as well.
Another incentive to developing blockchain in education is the growing popularity of online courses. Institutions that target an internet audience are generally advanced and forward-thinking in terms of new technologies, which brings them closer to the implementation of blockchain.