How Blockchain can revolutionise Education Technology
Technology is changing every horizon and segment of our lives. It has been marching aggressively and changing the landscape of each sector with innovative solutions. Blockchain is becoming a buzzword in today’s technology world and the coming decade might see a plethora of opportunities and innovations revolving around blockchain.
Blockchain would be projected to add a business value of more than 176 billion USD by 2025 (Source: Gartner)
The most important aspect is, it is likely to exceed in excess of 1.3 trillion by 2030. 84% of the organizations are actively involved in some kind of blockchain activites.In a PwC survey of 600 executives from 15 territories, 84 percent say their organizations have at least some involvement with blockchain technology. More than 50% of those individuals or organizations cited regulatory uncertainty as one of the hurdles in blockchain technology.
It is still nascent in terms of knowledge or skill set availability for implementation.
Whenever there is the need for some kind of collaboration or work is distributed across multiple entities, many organizations or entities are involved in updating or authenticity of the database/information, blockchain can be your go-to technology. In today’s globalized world there is the essence of continuous information exchange, collaboration. Blockchain can be a solution for this global world.
Blockchain as the word specifies it is a combination of blocks connected with linking or chain. Each block communicates with other nodes or blocks in a secure manner. Each update is informed to other node or block so that information across all nodes is in synced and stable.
Blockchain offers many advantages for the implementation of collaborative and distributed information-oriented solutions. A ledge is a common form of entry table for the financial world and multiple entries in the ledger would form base information to work on it.
Information storage is managed in such a way that collaboration and information exchange becomes easy and secure. Traditional database designs have limitations in terms of the ability of collaboration, and information exchange with third-party applications in a secure manner.
Blockchain can solve this problem.
Information is not stored in the central database but it is distributed across nodes. Even if one node fails, the same information copy is available with another node as a failsafe mechanism. It makes system availability even in case of particular node failure.
Blockchain technology is nothing but database nodes distributed across multiple locations and connected to each other. If the information at particular node changes then it is informed to all other nodes so that those nodes would be updated with the latest updates.
Information accessed through blockchain ensures that it is authentic and secure information which can be trusted.
Information storage is maintained in a highly secure encrypted format where each data updation is verified across nodes for data consistency and manipulations.
It makes blockchain technology highly secure from fraud and hacking.
Where BlockChain can be used in Education?
Convert Paper-based System to Paperless
The majority of the work done in an educational institution is based on the paper. Technology like blockchain can transform it into a simplified paperless manner.
Let’s check out some of the use cases of blockchain technology in Education.
BlockChain for Student Academic Data Storage and Verification
Student academic data like marks obtained in particular examination, leaving certificates, Course completion certificates are issued by the university or authority of particular education institute department.
Students usually get photocopies of those documents and it is being issued on request to various entities for job applications, admission to another institute, scholarship applications, etc.
To tackle misplacement of Academic Documents
There are quite a few incidences where students misplace their academic certificates. In such a case, they need to apply to education institutions or authority to issue those certificates after making payment of certain fees. It is a manual activity. In case if a student requires those certificates or documents on an urgent basis then getting duplicate copies of the certificates becomes impossible.
Re-issuance of Academic Document to Students
Most of the time, education institutions or authorities receive thousands of requests from students for re-issuance of their academic certificates, mark sheets. Based on a permanent registration number or photocopy submitted by the student, the university needs to extract information from their database and issue a fresh copy of the certificate or mark sheet.
It is quite a tedious , laborious and time-consuming job for the education institute.
Verification request by an Authority for Student Academic Data Verification
This is a very common case where the student has submitted individual mark sheets or academic certificates for various scenarios. You can consider the following typical scenarios.
1. Student admission transfer to another institute or university for study
This is a common scenario for some of the universities in the west and likely to be the norm in Indian universities as well. Students want to switch universities or particular stream/ course after completion of some of the semesters. When students apply for another university course, it needs to verify previous records of the students. Most of the times this verification is manual. Some of the students also produce false or manipulated records to the university. It becomes impossible to verify if the information is 100% or not.
2. Student need to share Academic Credentials during Job Applications
When students are applying for jobs after completion of graduation, organizations find is very difficult to verify actual academic records of the individual. Most of the times organizations need to outsource activity of verification to some third party agency.
Background or academic verification is costly and organizations need to spend a lot of resources for the verification process.
3. Student need to apply for scholarship of various Organizations, NGO's, Governments, Institutes
Like the above mentioned 2 cases, in this scenario also manual verification of academic records is needed. Organizations need to connect with university or certificate issuing authority to verify documents submitted by the students.
Manual verification is error-prone and time-consuming and involves huge administrative activities.
4. Student need to perceive some Government Benefits based on Academic Credentials
Govt has various policies beneficial for the students from specific background and who are excelling in academics. Students need to submit their documents to the Govt and in this case as well as manual verification of academic records is inevitable.
5. Student application for Education Loan
Education loan entities like Banks, non-banking financial institutions, nonprofit organizations requests student academic records to assess the eligibility of education loan. In this case, manual verification of academic records for each applicant becomes tedious task and there is no guarantee that verification is done with 100% accuracy and the student has not manipulated records to get an education loan.
In all the above-mentioned cases, the entity on the other side needs to do manual verification by contacting that authority who has issued those certificates to the student. It is a time-consuming process as there is no standard mechanism available for communication and information exchange related to student academic credentials.
Manual Task for the Verification Process
Entire task of academic certificate issuance, verification is manual and blockchain can solve this scenario by simplification of information exchange, collaboration and secure way of issuing digital academic credentials for the students.
How BlockChain can resolve these issues?
Blockchain technology can help institutions and universities to issue certificates in digital format which is stored in distributed blocks of a database. Each entity or certificate issuing authority can act as a node. Any entity which is looking for the validation of records can request for the node to verify the records stored in it for a specific student.
Each verification process can be managed in an electronic format.
This would help in solving many issues
> Loss of original certificates or mark sheets can be easily retrieved from blockchain node by student or competent authority
> Academic verification process becomes very easy with distributed and authorized nodes in a blockchain.
Maintaining Student Academic Records
In the current scenario, it is the responsibility of the university or institute to keep records of academics for all students who passed out from the institution. The competent authority can request verification for a particular student. There is no standard mechanism which can help the institute to verify the records in an electronic or automated way to speed up the process. Blockchain can help automated and quick verification of academic records.
- Student needs to transfer to another institute for the study
- Students need to share academic credentials during job applications
- Students need to apply for scholarships of various organizations, NGOs, institutes, Govt
- Students need to get some govt benefits based on academic credentials
- Students need to apply for an internship in the companies
- Student application for Education Loan
We discussed the above-mentioned scenarios previously and it is clear that manual verification is not practical and time-consuming. Blockchain-enabled verification can speed up and simplify the entire process. Accuracy associated with verification can also be improved tremendously.
Security Mechanism of BlockChain
The advanced security mechanism of blockchain would ensure that the system can not be immune to hacking. Data can not be manipulated with any other entity apart from node owner.
As we move forward there would be more innovations expected in the field of blockchain security.
Blockchain is likely to disrupt the Education sector for positive change. More and more collaboration and information exchange, verification use cases would come up in the education sector. Blockchain can certainly help to eliminate many barriers to make the process simpler and better.
What do you think about it?
About the Author
Swapnil has experience of more than 15 years in the Information Technology sector. He has been working on digital platforms in the education sector. Swapnil is an avid reader and writes articles on technology and leading developments in the education and IT sectors.
Swapnil is the founder of Splashgain, an Education Technology company from India working on various innovative EdTech platforms for examinations, proctoring solutions, digital admission process and more. Splashgain has been working with many educational institutes and universities for AI-powered innovations and solutions to transform the education sector.
Splashgain has also filed a patent for an innovative product based on AI.