By Rohit Gajbhiye
India’s education sector is going through an age of renaissance. Covid-19 forced the Indian education system to adopt the digital mode of teaching. However, what started as a compulsion rapidly took the entire education system by storm and became the preferred mode of teaching and learning for many educational institutions and students. Even when pandemic induced restrictions are gradually being taken off and the educational institutions are reopening for in-person classes, most people are advocating a hybrid model of education where online education would complement offline education. There are more than 1500000 schools in India and almost every school in the country is gradually adopting some or the other form of digital education.
Even in the traditional model of education, technology has made deep inroads. Smart classrooms are fast becoming normal in most schools. Computers, laptops, smartphones, etc have been in use for several years now. The growing number of edtech companies in the country is evidence of the paradigm shift happening in India’s education sector. The country already has 6 edtech unicorns. This is a clear indication that not only there is demand in the market for services, but the investments are also flowing-in in the sector.
Besides all the buzz in the education sector, new technology has arrived which is all set the transform the education sector. Blockchain is the technology behind the emergence and success of cryptocurrency. In less than two decades, cryptocurrency is already a phenomenon in the financial world. The market size of cryptocurrency in the world was estimated at $800 million in 2020 and is expected to be $5200 million by 2028, exhibiting almost 30% CAGR during the forecasting period 2021-2028. After making cryptocurrency a global phenomenon, Blockchain is now rapidly finding its utility in various other areas. The education sector is one of the areas that is expected to gain rich benefits from Blockchain technology.
India has the largest number of students in the world. It is estimated that more than 250 million students are enrolled in the Indian schooling system and another 34.3 million are currently studying in higher education institutes. Maintaining students’ records is tiresome, time-consuming, and resource-consuming. Keeping the records updated is another cumbersome task. These records are stored in the university servers. There are possibilities of hacking into the servers and tampering with the student’s records. Many people forge their academic records and degrees in order to secure admissions to higher education and employment. The verification of records is extremely difficult, time-consuming, and in some cases, impossible.
Blockchain is a technology where the records or ledgers are kept in form of blocks of data. These blocks are secured and connected to other blocks of data pertaining to the same individual or organization. These blocks are strongly encrypted and stored in multiple computers in a decentralized manner. Tampering with one data block changes the information in other blocks connected to it and alters all the computers where the data has been stored. This makes it impossible to hack blockchain technology.
Blockchain can help eliminate these elements from the education system. Creating student records on the blockchain can make the process faster and smarter. The practically breakable inscription of the blocks makes them hack and tamper-proof. The decentralized storage of the records makes the system further safe. Blockchain gives the students a digital identity and provides them with the ownership of their records. This way students can easily prove the authenticity of their academic achievements whenever needed. Not only just the academic performance but blockchain can also be utilized to keep records related to attendance, health status, extra-curricular activities, social conduct, sports activities, etc. In case the records need to be transferred from one education institution to another, it can be done in a much faster and more efficient manner. This will bring much more transparency, authenticity, and accountability to the education sector.
Blockchain technology can also be used to design courses and evaluation systems. Teachers can use the smart contracts method to design course structures in a manner that students need to meet certain criteria to pass a module and proceed to the next module. Blockchain can also enable students to verify the credentials of their teachers and institutions. It can also help the education system evolve in a manner to gives students the freedom to make their combinations of major and minor services.
The above discussion shows that blockchain can make the education system much more efficient and transparent. As the inefficiencies in the system disappear, the quality of education in the country is bound to improve. When fake degrees and academic records become obsolete, the right people will get more opportunities in education and profession. More importantly, people will be encouraged (or forced) to follow the right channels to achieve academic records, diplomas, and degrees. This will make the country’s education system much more authentic and reliable and boost the demand for quality education in the country.
The author is CEO and founder, Financepeer.