MARKNetwork Blockchain Use Case: Academic centers

Will blockchain make a strong presence across academic centers?

Short summary of the article:

“Do not get left behind”

»The cost of education and rising count of diploma mills is causing an unrest across the globe. Blockchain comes across as a promising solution to the plaguing issues.«

The global education and training spend are projected to reach $10 Trillion by the year 2030. The growing global population among developing countries like India is the prime driver of the massive expenditure that lies ahead. In the next decade, the globe will add almost 800 million K12 graduates and 350 million post-secondary graduates.

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Is the education system ready for this education wave? Let us seek the answer.

The current scenario of the education system is spine-chilling.

According to Verifile, a private CV verification, and background screening service, the United States turned into a diploma mill with over 1,000 identified operations in 2011. In April 2011, a sting operation revealed the existence of a fake university in the US that led to the arrests of 21 brokers for obtaining fraudulent student visas of 1,000 foreign nationals. The federal government is facing challenges to issue visas to 4.5 million foreign applicants who have earned a degree outside their country.

The problems are spread far and wide. The college pass population of China is expected to face a serious dip of 40% from 2010 to 2025 when the count will decrease from 176 million to 105 million. A multitude of challenges like privatization of schools, credential validation issues, and intellectual property frauds are spread across multiple realms of global education industry leading to educational bankruptcy.

The figures show that the state of the education system across the globe is dilapidating. The blockchain is yet to go mainstream in the educational sector but its inherent advantages of Distributed Ledger Technology like immutability, security, and transparency makes the education sector a promising use case. The technology embracement in schools, educational networks, post-secondary institutions, and community-driven organizations will improve the learning opportunities and will enable building a friction less ecosystem.

Credentials Verification

A surprising number of diploma frauds have been identified according to which the diploma mills are a $2 BN industry. In a pursuit to snag a great job, employees compromise with the integrity of their educational qualifications. Researchers Allen Ezell and John Bear collated a study according to which almost millions of fake diplomas have made way to market. This costs legitimate institutes heavy defamation. Some of the highest-levels of credential scandals involved big giants who ended up hiring an executive who made way to top positions with fake credentials. Almost 17 incidents were reported by Business Insider which involved high-ups like RadioShack CEO David Edmondson, Vice president for corporate communications at Walmart David Tovar and in 2012, Scott Thompson, the CEO of Yahoo were found lying about their educational verifications.

According to the New York Times more than 50K Ph. Ds is being purchased from existing diploma mills in the US every year. Some of the degrees are being sold at as low as $100. Another prevailing issues around credential verification is that refugee and displaced people are not able to retain their educational credentials. In 2016 almost 5% of the Syrians aged 18-24 lost their educational credentials due to displacement.

Blockchain technology protagonists believe that the digitizing the educational credentials will aid the accreditation validations process. The process of verification will become quick and trustless. Furthermore, it will digitize the certificates so that the records cannot be tampered or lost even in case of dislocations. Currently, universities are spending billions of dollars to verify and store the educational records. Blockchain will replace the legacy system and will protect the industry penetration of cons and people who falsify their credentials.

It is a serious concern and that is why giants like IBM and Sony have partnered with educational institutions to roll out a digital transcript platform built on the blockchain. The company called Learning Machine recently ran a pilot program with Southern New Hampshire University to move the educational credentials to the blockchain.

Projection of Intellectual properties

Leading experts on Intellectual Properties theft estimate that the aggregated global cost of these thefts scales up to trillions of dollars. The economic damage of thefts around copyright, patents, trade secrets and trademarks. With the digitization of intellectual properties, tracking copyrights and legitimizing ownership has become very challenging.

Blockchain offers smart contracts that enable IP registrations over blockchain. The automatic ability of smart contracts to manage sales of intellectual properties, trustless way to buy and sell licenses and proposing terms of use make it easy to own and maintain rights of IP at most possible rates. It also eliminates the intermediaries bringing the producer of IP and user of IP closer with better rates.

Projects like Bitcoin.com offers a complete service to etch the IP to the blockchain. Binded is another promising project that copyrights certificate as proof of ownership on Blockchain.

Massive Open Online Courses

MOOC’s market is about to grow from $3.9 billion in 2018 to $20.8 billion by 2023. MOOC platforms are offering users across the globe training and development programs, professional certifications, and deeper professional courses. Such courses are receiving more traction because global organizations are edging their employees to take up cost-effective MOOCs.

It started in 2011 and now more than 800 plus universities are offering MOOCs with 23 Million users signing up in 2017 only which has led to 81 million users of MOOC.

Research identifies that innovative cheating technique is cropping up in MOOCs. People are creating multiple personalities online where the first identity is known as a harvester and the second one is known as the master. The harvester uses guesswork to gather right answers and master submits the answers creating a fraud mechanism. Around 25% of the MOOCs have super-certifiers who have used these cheating techniques. As a significant problem, it is hurting the entire MOOC industry. Companies like BitDegree and ODEM are creating marketplaces based on blockchain to provide security and immutability to the ecosystem.

The increased cost of education

The growing higher education costs in the United States is making 44 million students turn to education loans. The cumulative figure of student loans rose up to around $1.4 trillion in the U.S. In the last 1 decade the student loans have gone up by almost 150%. An average in-state student enrolled in university pays $20,090 per year, for tuition, fees and room and board today.

According to a study, average tuition fee witnessed 63% increase from 2006 to 2016 which led to an average loan of $37, 172 per student who graduated in 2016. The figures from the UK are no different than the US where the aggregated loan figures are around $100 billion.

The rise in the costs of education is primarily due to the privatization of schools and the intermediaries who inflate the cost. Blockchain promises refined management of funds, elimination of intermediaries and transparency to the educational system so that government aids are utilized appropriately. Blockchain will help students track the scholarship programs as is and will have access to better opportunities to receive funds for their performance. Projects like LiveEdu, Gilgamesh and Open Source Universities are offering promising opportunities to the education enthusiasts by connecting learners over a decentralized platform cutting down the cost of education.

To wrap

Although the mass adoption is far away, the pilot projects are promising enough which fortifies the belief of the fraternity in the potential of the blockchain. MARKNetwork is one unified platform that offers the believers of blockchain technology an opportunity to get highly tailored solutions across multiple business acumens.

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