Vol 15: How Blockchain Can Transform Africa's Educational Sector.
This is the 3rd post in a blog series on Blockchain Transforming Africa, so for today, I will be explaining how this technology can transform our EDUCATIONAL SECTOR.
Blockchain has had a tremendous impact in the financial world but how applicable is it for education? Let’s talk.
New technologies can bring new opportunities, we have many technologies in our possession to make our work easier and faster to accomplish. Technologies like Blockchain, a distributed ledger technology will be very versatile in the academic sector. We all know Blockchain is a shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking of assets in a network. So let’s explore;
Validation of Student Records: The distributed ledger technology called Blockchain can be implemented by higher institutions to store, access and validate students records. Due to the nature of Blockchain, students information can never be misplaced or accidentally destroyed, so a certificate earned in 1995 is easily accessible 26 years later and it makes student blockchain verified records to be easily accessible by another institution anywhere in the world and be certain of the accuracy of the record.
In Nigeria, the Ministry of Education and other sub academic bodies like JAMB and WAEC, in conjunction with the state education agency could create data storage for students on the blockchain, a type of data which allows students and graduates to hold all the educational information from their different schools and share this information as part of applications for jobs and post-secondary school education. WAEC, JAMB, post-UTME results, transcripts, letters of recommendations, references etc. All these can be built in an app and can be accessed by student devices, available for round-the-clock access.
A digital signature on the Blockchain would verify their authenticity, the Ministry of Education may have the information stored in a private Blockchain system maintained by the education agency. To share the information, the student could share a cryptographic key permitting others to access only those data that are needed or that they decide could be relevant.
The district can verify data using Blockchain systems like smart contracts. That means that lessons and courses can be programmed into the blockchain and executed automatically when certain conditions are met by the lecturer and the student. For example, a lecture could set up tasks for students. The completion of each task could be automatically verified by the blockchain’s smart contracts. Upon completion of all tasks, lecturers could receive payment with crypto tokens and students could be awarded credits.
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Higher institutions could use this system to give students to instant access their grades, credits, credentials, and certificates. However users and developers must consider privacy when planning Blockchain systems, care must be taken to ensure only those who have access to the system are given permission to the database.
Transcript issue has always been a pain in the ass for undergraduates here, I was reading an article by Punch recently on how Nigerian students have lost several scholarships and job opportunities despite putting so much time and effort to get their university transcript.
A significant portion of African Universities still relies on mail services and other factors that are time-consuming and charge from $10- $20 for a single request. Blockchain can revolutionize this sector, as not only can they be used to store sensitive information in an unaltered way but using this technology could also save time and money. Saving transcripts on a blockchain also ensures that they are protected in the case of server failures or natural disasters.
We now have fraudulent degree holders all over the place, with forgers developing new techniques constantly to make sure that the forged degrees are undetectable. Blockchain can be used to issue unique digital assets that very the credentials of academic degrees and certifications, this would make it more easier for potential employers or scholarship bodies to verify the degrees and save valuable time and money. Once all these are achieved, we could make the manual process of verifying certificates obsolete.
Employment: Blockchain can help the products of the academic sector more employable. People are getting lots of certificates as they are learning and skills are added to their certificate, this is where AI comes in (haha), we can have an AI tool that can read adverts of jobs online, which then match the skills with the data of the employees we have on our blockchain.
Blockchain is already changing Africa’s financial sector via cryptocurrencies. This technology could have a transformative effect on Africa’s educational sector as well by streamlining record keeping and sharing, enhancing security and improving trust, simplifying the hiring process, and giving students ownership of their academic records for life.
In the end, people can now have the opportunity to take charge of their lives and to participate in one of the greatest challenges facing humanities today, the wise management of the power that we have gained through digital technology.
Until next week, Happy Learning.
Enjoy the weekend.