Is Blockchain the Added Value Education Needs?

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So many young people in third world communities lie awake at night, dreaming of traveling to the places they have seen in the movies…places in the US, Europe and other parts of the world. Hitching your wagon to a star is the mindset of hopeful youngsters reared by parents who have been through the rigors of wars, poverty, and unemployment.

Colonial mentality is the internalized attitude of ethnic or cultural inferiority felt by people as a result of colonization, i.e. being colonized by another group. It corresponds with the belief that the cultural values of the colonizer are inherently superior to one’s own. Going abroad fills their daily conversations with friends and family, and their enthusiasm fills their dreams. They dream of living in those countries, making friends, playing sports, eating out, going to the beach, dating and enjoying their time at university. Actually, they can be as self-sufficient where they are. But how?

Sometimes they dream of learning to speak like a native English speaker.

In reality, the United States, a country with every education facility and institution imaginable available, is a country where higher education is in crisis. As costs rise across the board, there is an ever increasing number of people accumulating student loan debt, but fewer students that are able to complete their degree. I read that less than 50% of students in the US complete their degrees in 6 years.

Not good odds for a dreamer. Little do they realize that the global village is at their doorstep if they become proficient in English through online courses and online employment.

Organized and in Order

It reminds me of the Supertramp song “Dreamer, you know you are a dreamer”.To gain access to colleges and universities in the first world you need to have your qualifications organized and in order.

“Organised and in order” – two words that strike fear into the heart of most people…if you’re anything like me, it’s a constant challenge to remember where you left your cell phone, let alone have an organized, digitized record of your academic accomplishments.

This challenge is compounded in third world countries, where archaic education systems and record keeping can result in the loss of the vital records you need to verify yourself as an accomplished student and confirm your degrees or credentials for applications to study in other countries. This can have a far-reaching effect on students as, resources, and the disappointment of not being able to fulfill their dreams can destroy a sense of self-worth.

Online education has helped millions of people acquire knowledge and skills from where they live and work,  bypassing most of the obstacles that exist in formal education — but in reality, the online education industry faces many challenges, which I believe can be solved with the implementation of blockchain technology in Edtech. The possibility of a decentralized education platform (Peer to Peer Learning) that is governed by consensus rather than a central authority is made possible with the blockchain.

Blockchain: A student’s view

The increasing reliance on educational institutions on databases that are accessible online create a security risk for student data. The possibility of a hacker stealing or conversely, changing their grades or adding unearned certifications is possible with databases that have a single failure point, whether they are housed on servers or in the cloud.

Students, instead of being reliant on an institution to safeguard their data, will be able to access and verify their academic history online, confident that even if an educator goes out of business their records are permanently stored on the blockchain.

Blockchain: An employer’s view

It is common that an interviewee may have certificates from several high schools, universities or colleges, as well as professional educators and online companies. Normally, an employer would need to verify an employees’ credentials with any number of sources, which can be costly and time-consuming, depending on the level of checking needed.

Compare this to the ease of confirming the authenticity on the blockchain. Once an institution adds a students certificate(s) to the ledger, the details are publicly available and separated from the issuing establishment. They become immutable and are a credible record employers reference online to verify a potential employee’s learning history.

Let’s all get involved

As blockchain evolves, innovative new applications will disrupt online education. English Forward is actively engaged in planning and being a part of the solution to the challenges faced in language learning.

Disclaimer: This is a guest article. The views, opinions and positions expressed within it are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Cryptopolitan. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

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Mitch Rankin

Written by Mitch Rankin

Mitch Rankin is the Co-Founder of Forward Protocol, a technology company building open source blockchain tools to connect the Edtech sector. A devoted husband and father, he has passionately invested on education and blockchain. Focusing on helping solve UNESCO's Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) of the 2030 Agenda, he supports the goal to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. His vision is to impact 1 billion people through a better education and learning experience by changing how the world learns.