Can Blockchain transform education like it has with the financial side of the world?
Lately, more people are of the opinion that education is a business. Money has become the deciding factor in a student’s capacity to enroll in a school or university, as opposed to their grades or credentials.
Blockchain has the potential to level the playing field when it comes to education. It will, without a doubt, be years before we see any extensive use of the technology in this field. But when it does come, it will be for the better.
Let’s discuss blockchains
They are digitized, decentralized, public ledgers used to store encrypted, transactional information. Each digital record or transaction in a network of participating computers is called a “block”, and each block is linked to a specific participant by way of cryptographic keys. While the records are created and verified in a distributed network, they are coupled with previous entries, thereby creating a ‘chain of blocks’ or blockchain.
What this technology promises, is a more efficient, secure and transparent way of handling peer-to-peer transactions.
Blockchain tech is still in its nascent stages but is already being used by educators at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The University of Melbourne. With education becoming more diversified, fragmented and flexible, there is a need to maintain the reputation of institutions/teachers, and trust in certification and proof of learning. Blockchains can provide just that – massive, open, online and reliable databases. The potential for its widespread use in the education industry is an exciting prospect!
In a recent report, the European Commission outlined the ways in which blockchain technology can be used in educational institutions. While the report delves into the more intricate aspects of how and where the technology would play a major role, we’ll discuss the salient features and advantages of such an undertaking.
Here’s how blockchain can help in education
- Stored certificates will remain protected in case of unauthorized access to any record keeping system. Consider the worst possible scenarios such as a student misplacing his/her certificates, or when a school’s server breaks down and completely wipes out data – universities or schools can benefit from blockchain by retrieving all of the lost data.
- Blockchain technology allows personal data to remain private. Students maintain control and ownership of all their certificates. This data is stored in a secure location that is accessible for verification when requested to the student.
- Encryption simplifies copyrighting of educational content, which means that teachers/ professors can publish content without the fear of plagiarism.
- Students can also pay for their education via cryptocurrency, which would eliminate barriers such as restricted access to bank accounts, or credit cards rejections based on country of origin.
- Widespread deployment of blockchain technology can eliminate impersonators and confidence artists. Employers will have definitive proof of identity while hiring, as they can examine everything from enrollment to graduation data.
- Physical study materials or important files are easily misplaced when moving to another country or during a transfer of institution. Blockchain technology ensures access to them irrespective of where you are.
- Even in developing nations such as India, remote areas now have access to the internet. Therefore, there is better access to standardized, secure education via blockchains.
- Statistics show that there are 35 million graduates a year in India. Blockchain technology will make education cheaper since students will only have to pay for materials and training, eliminating auxiliary fees for maintenance or infrastructure.
For now, pilot projects have been rolled out in various institutes and organizations. Additionally, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is issuing 100 digital diplomas to graduates in October, and Malta’s government operating a blockchain academic certificate pilot this year, according to Coindesk.
Blockchain is promising to change the way we educate future generations. Education is a field that is constantly evolving but is also known to be slow when it comes to adapting. The only thing left to do is to wait and see.