EU Eyes Blockchain to
•Once a record is on the blockchain, it is there to stay. The immutability of entries has many potential applications, including the ability to permanently secure digital degrees and course certificates, even if an institution were to shut down or an entire country's education record-keeping system were to collapse (which has happened in Syria);
•Entries on a blockchain can be verified with the click of a mouse. This can significantly reduce the burden on both learners and educational institutions. For learners this could mean the end of fishing out paper copies of degree certificates and transcripts to apply for a course. Institutions can check an individual or organisation's credentials instantly;
•'Smart contracts' can be set up that automatically enact an agreement
if certain conditions are met. For a student who is receiving financial
assistance to study, this could mean that they only receive funding once
they submit compulsory course work. By entering a publication on a
blockchain, a smart contract can be set up so that the author receives
automatic recognition or even payment for citations.
For these scenarios to be realised, regulation and standardisation will determine the extent and speed of progress. The report recommends that policymakers take an open approach to this:
•Further development of technology in the educational field should take advantage of private sector innovation while safeguarding public interest;
•Fully-open blockchain implementations are recommended so that the real
goals and promise of blockchain in education can be reached - such as
recipient ownership, vendor independence and decentralised verification;
•Policymakers should set up innovation pipelines to further investigate the specific educational uses of blockchain technology;
•Standardisation will be key, so policymakers should urgently look at this area - in particular at how to establish commonly agreed digital meta-data standards for educational records and how to link these to existing course, degree or qualification certification systems;
•An expert committee should be formed to keep policymakers informed of the latest developments;
•Educational organisations and learners will be the main beneficiaries
of the adoption of these new technologies, so outreach to help them
understand these benefits is vital.
•Blockchain has the capacity to become a trusted service to check and validate the accuracy of information provided by job applicants. This could include checking things like education, skills, past work experiences and training courses completed - reducing the time spent by recruiters and hiring managers in verifying individual applications;
•Blockchain could also offer more personalised information management to job seekers and better match their profile with job offers;
•The technology could also prove helpful in automatising things like labour agreements, payments, reporting obligations and tax payments.
How does blockchain technology work?
Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology and it operates in much
the same way as a traditional ledger - like those used by a bank to
track transactions, or a governmental organisation for keeping a record
of land ownership.