Blockchain + Education... A match made in heaven?
Tempson True, COO and PM at ICOHolder.com discusses the impact blockchain technology has on the future of higher education
Education is the exchange of knowledge and skills through several channels. The process is more efficient if there is trust between all parties involved. This is the reason reputable tertiary institutions receive thousands of applications each year. In turn, they only take those they perceive to be the brightest and the best, who will carry the institution’s name with their success.
Blockchain, a decentralized ledger, is a medium of exchange for things of value without the need to employ third parties. In simple terms, blockchain technology is the bridge to ‘digital trust.’ This trust can play a crucial role in transforming higher education in the future.
Blockchain technology and the future of higher education
The European Union (EU) has called for improvements in education and pupils knowledge of the EU. A distributed education system is what the EU is calling for and the solution may lie in blockchain technology.
This article gives insights on how blockchain technology, through decentralization and immutability, has the potential to change the education sector for the better.
There are documented cases of people who have forged or lied about their qualifications. In some cases, the alleged fraudsters are high ranking politicians and government officials. It is easy to lie because it is often difficult for third parties to verify a person’s qualifications, especially if they claim to have obtained their qualifications from multiple tertiary institutions.
Hackers who are capable of breaching the computer systems of these institutions can alter or delete qualifications of people of interest. Education is prone to fraud, manipulation, and hacking.
Blockchain technology can change that. A blockchain is an immutable ledger of records. Once the information has been entered and verified, it cannot be changed. Additionally, no one can append information on the blockchain without the approval of the network users.
Tertiary institutions can develop custom blockchain protocols to issue certificates and curb fraud. With blockchain technology, the future of education looks ‘honest.’
The world is changing into a connected global village in which people from different parts of the world should be able to work together. However, there is no universal solution which converts academic transcripts into universally acceptable certificates. While there are third parties who carry out this work, their process is slow, and in some cases, can take several months.
People can simply enter their qualifications on a blockchain ledger. This way, the certificates can be universally accessed by interested parties and can be verified and evaluated according to the standards of the jurisdictions in which they are required.
Education is not free and it’s not cheap either. Many former students owe tertiary institutions thousands of dollars. In many cases, tertiary institutions lose a lot of money. They may have to hire third parties to recover the money owed to them and this can be a very slow process.
Smart contracts can be deployed to track students who owe money to the institutions. Their qualifications should only be issued once the outstanding debt is paid in full.
Quality education is key, and unfortunately, hard to come by. Lecturers can be rated on the blockchain by verified students. Unfortunately, many companies buy testimonials and positive reviews from random people, this needs to be avoided in education.
Lecturers can enter their credentials on private blockchains. Only verified students who attend the lecturers’ classes will be allowed to leave reviews.
Education is moving from the classroom to the internet. Many people are taking online courses and this helps those who do not have access to physical classrooms.
There are several startups which offer online educational systems but they do have their own shortcomings. They teach people what they think people should learn. In most cases, there is no real time learning or exchange of data. The students have to rely on pre-recorded videos.
Blockchain technology can be used to provide a decentralized educational system in which there is a real-time exchange of information. In this way, students can be taught one-on-one by standby online tutors who will be rewarded with the blockchain protocol’s native digital tokens.
Education becomes decentralized. No one entity will control the courses to be published or how much to charge the audience.
Online classrooms will turn into autonomous organizations governed by the choices of the majority.
Transparency of scholarships
There are deserving students who have failed to obtain tertiary qualifications because they cannot afford the high tuition fees. To address these challenges, several government organizations and Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are playing their part in sponsoring the students.
However, people are sometimes immoral and they can misuse the funds intended for the less privileged.
Blockchain technology can be used to improve efficiency and make sure that the scholarships go to their intended or deserving destinations.
There are several Blockchain events and ICOs taking place in the world on a monthly basis and the sooner they focus on the future of education, the better.
The future of education is a two-way street. The status quo can be maintained and the sector will be transformed at a snail’s pace, or blockchain can be integrated to build a robust, decentralized, and transparent educational system which caters for all. The future of education starts today and it begins with the adoption of blockchain technology.