Over five million students in 3,680 primary and secondary schools across Ethiopia are expected to get digital IDs starting in a few months as the government and Cardano partner to build a database of the country’s students’ and teachers’ credentials on the blockchain.
The Minister of Finance and his team conferred with the founder of Cardano and co-founder of @ethereum, Charles Hoskinson 1/3 pic.twitter.com/uSonGTqZUp
— Ministry of Finance – Ethiopia (@MoF_Ethiopia) October 28, 2021
In a recent report, the Government of Ethiopia revealed that it had spotted over 200, 000 fake degree certificates. Some of these degrees were offered by university colleges prompting the government to consider invalidating some degree certificates, the majority of which are held by government officials.
Due to its transparent nature and its immutability, blockchain is seen as a solution to check the fraud and fake degree cases which bedevil the country’s education sector.
In 2021, the Ethiopian government signed a partnership with research and engineering firm, Input Output Global (IOG), to implement a digital student identity program on the Cardano blockchain network.
“The Ethiopian government is very much supportive of the program. We collaborate with the country’s education ministry in practically all aspects,” says John O’Connor, who is Director of African operations at IOG.
IOG is contracted to design, build, and maintain the solution on the Cardano public blockchain platform.
“The benefits and features that the program brings in – including verifiable degrees, and digitization of the entire workflow – are all invaluable for the government,” says O’Connor.
According to IOG, the digital IDs are used to store the students and teachers educational records. In the long run, the government is hopeful that it will address the challenges facing the Ethiopian education system, such as fraud, fake degrees, and fake credentials.
Up to 750,000 teachers will also access the system and will be using their digital IDs to create and store records while enabling them to track students’ academic performance.
O’Connor hopes the system will one day be adopted by other African countries that provides students a digital identity that can track their progress throughout their education and careers.
IOG also says that blockchain is the most promising technology to address key problems facing Africa such as poor governance, porous health systems, broken agricultural value chains, centralized finance, and botched education systems.
Verifiable digital identity is said to be at the center of credibility in all these sectors.
The program will largely rely on Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education running a full network node with schools using a light client to get access to this node running on the Cardano blockchain system.
“It works hand-in-hand with the governments’ unique identity number system.” – O’Connor
IOG’s original contract with the government targets five million students both in primary and secondary schools across 3,680 schools.
In due course, this will be expanded to higher learning education institutions such as universities ultimately reaching up to 9 million students in Ethiopia’s education system.
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