Ethiopia is overhauling its education system with the biggest blockchain deployment in the world. This unique project could be a game changer for social mobility and could also have major implications elsewhere.
The partnership, run alongside global blockchain and research company IOHK will provide a digital ID system for teachers and students. It will use a Cardano blockchain based system to digitally verify grades, monitor performance, attendance records and boost higher education inclusion.
Using IOHK’s Atala PRIMS ID, authorities will be able to create immutable education records for millions of students as well as 750,000 teachers and 3,500 schools. The system will help to combat fraudulent university applications and help authorities identify areas of underperformance. Using the student IDs schools will have access to more information about each student facilitating the provision of personalised teaching plans.
The government will also issue pupils and teachers with tablets and an internet network which gives them instance access to their academic records. The authorities hope this could open up higher education to the vast majority of the population which still resides in rural areas.
Information for everyone
The great benefit of the blockchain is that it can verify personal data without the involvement of any third parties. It is more secure, transparent and provides people in remote areas an easy one stop shop to access education as well as other services such as finance.
Education and financial exclusion is a major issue across the global south where populations are often isolated, currencies unstable and in which few people have real access to financial services. The great unbanked. Ethiopia is one of the most closed economies in the world and also boasts one of the biggest populations in Africa.
As such it represents a perfect opportunity for Cardano to prove its metal. It will help authorities track individual grades, behaviour, attendance, and attainment from pre school through to secondary schools. Teachers can track and monitor everything from pupil achievement to grades, absences, transfers, or dropouts.
A big win
Speaking to City Am John O Conner, IOHK’s African Operations Director, suggested this could be the start of something bigger.
“Ethiopia’s blockchain-based education transformation is a key milestone on IOHK’s mission to provide economic identities and employment, social and financial services for the digitally excluded,” he explained. “After five years of R&D, Cardano is now mature enough to underpin a blockchain solution which can scale to serve an entire national population.”
The project is a big win for IOHK and the Cardano blockchain. Founder Charles Hoskinson has long believed that the blockchain can transform development in Africa. A key reason behind the creation of the company was a vision to democratise financial services for the world’s 1.7billion unbanked people.
He has plans to expand beyond education into a host of other areas. He has already spoken about using blockchain technology to track and trace smallholder agriculture supply chains, healthcare, and transport.
This, then, is a project designed to showcase Cardano’s transformative impact as the most advanced blockchain in the world.
(Writing by Tom Cropper, editing by Michael O'Sullivan)