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Solving Educational Challenges Through Smart Contracts & Forward Protocol

Education is the foundation of every civilization and the progress of human society. Its role in shaping the future and recounting the past makes it imperative to resolve every challenge that plagues it. Although the conventional learning system has been relatively effective over the past decades, technological advancements can improve several significant systemic shortcomings.

The introduction of online learning capabilities has been one of the greatest achievements of technology integration into education, adding flexibility to learning. However, smart contracts, a key component of blockchain technology, offer even more potential. 

For instance, adopting blockchain-based smart contracts in this sector will inspire wholesale upgrades to existing infrastructure, provide improved security, inclusiveness, and swift student data or credential validation. At present, all of these tasks require manual processes that can be time-consuming, redundant, and inaccurate. 

A smart contract is a self-executing program based on blockchain, with coded agreement terms for the transacting parties (sender and receiver). This program is only triggered when the coded agreement is met. The applicability of blockchain technology has gone far beyond digital currency. It holds a lot of potential for the education sector, and in this article, we are going to consider some of the significant challenges that can be addressed by smart contracts. 

Democratizing learning

Two of the most apparent improvements blockchain technology brings to the education sector are decentralization and transparency. These two tenets of blockchain foster greater inclusion and protect students’ privacy.

In the traditional education system, access to some study programs and materials that promote learning are regulated through sociodemographic parameters such as country of residence or cultural differences. The application of blockchain smart contracts can enable a more decentralized learning environment, which is necessary to promote equal learning opportunities. 

Several academics are yet to realize that decentralization is a non-negotiable element of any effective education system. In addition to promoting learning, decentralization enables more people to be more active in their endeavors, directs focus, and empowers students to take responsibility for their education.

Data protection

Blockchain offers students better data protection. In the current education system, third-party companies handle private information, and history has shown it is not the most secure option. In the wrong hands, this information might be used for malicious intents to the detriment of unwitting individuals. 

Apart from exposing themselves to identity theft, students can avoid abusive advertisers from gaining access to private information. Even though some of these advertisements might be useful, the methods are ethically questionable, and they leave vulnerable young minds at the mercy of seasoned lobbyists! Also, some of these decisions that students as barely adults can have irreversible lifelong implications on them. 

Many schools can prevent data misuse through encryption and storing information on a blockchain. Also, allowing users to control what happens with their data is one of the most important aspects of blockchain technology. If students are given complete ownership over their data, they can control how much information they make available and who can access and use them. 

The Age Appropriate Design Code, or Children’s Code, is a new data protection code of practice introduced on 2 September 2021 for online services likely to be accessed by minors, such as apps, online games, and social media sites. The code translates the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements into design standards for online services to help businesses understand restrictions. These guidelines cover how much personal data they collect, data sharing regulations, and their impact on students’ privacy.

Certification and credential management

The most obvious use case for blockchain in education is online certifications. Nowadays, these are issued by third parties who record them onto private centralized servers. However, using blockchain technology, these certificates can be stored on a distributed ledger where they will be practically impregnable. Moreover, since this ledger is public and utterly resistant to censorship, it would not be possible for anyone – including institutions or governments – to take them away from the rightful owners.

This way, students will store their educational achievements on the blockchain, which they can later use as a reference. Indeed, sharing details of one’s personal data and achievements might sound bizarre at first, but there are numerous logical instances where enabling accessibility to this information will be helpful. 

For example, suppose someone has worked in two different companies throughout their career and needs a letter of recommendation. In that case, certificates stored on the blockchain are likely to hold more credence with their future employers. Besides, keeping students’ credentials on the blockchain would make it easier for employers to know their value and skills. 

Forward Protocol helps pool/upgrade resources

A common problem of institutions is that they don’t have enough background/technical skills to adapt their current systems to take advantage of the benefits of a blockchain ecosystem. There is no one-size-fits-all package for all technologies, but Forward Protocol enables customization to fit the needs of every institution.

Any EdTech dApp deploying Forward Protocol can use the Forward Factory to create customized smart contracts with easy UI/UX and deploy them. They will set fees percentage, turn features on/off, and set terms/policies. All data will be on-chain. It will be up to the platforms deploying the protocol to replicate the data off-chain or not.

The process is designed to help platforms deploy and become blockchain-ready with a much shorter lead time than expected if they were to develop a platform themselves. 

Conclusion

As blockchain enjoys more significant popularity, it has become a part of many traditional sectors. Blockchain technology has provided secure and efficient ways to transact online. Smart contracts help us ensure that our data is securely stored and maintained, so we don’t have to rely on third-party companies. Applying this technology in the education sector will reshape the current learning system into a more democratic and secure setting. 

We are at the brink of the Decentralized Education revolution. This generation offers over a billion new students who have never used an online learning system. At the same time, these students will soon become the future workforce to gain access to information and products that will create the next tidal wave in the global economy.

Source: Plato Data Intelligence

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