A blockchain solution for education sector

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One of the biggest challenges recruiters and higher educational institutions face is ascertaining the authenticity of the school and college certificates of the candidates.

With the incidence of doctored certificates growing, recruiters and companies have been seeking the help of verification companies, which are found to be not too well-equipped to identify the fake certificates.

Zebi Data, a start-up building blockchain technologies for various sectors such as revenue and hospitality, has built an exclusive blockchain platform for the education sector.

The EduChain platform has already bagged the IIIT (International Institute of Information Technology – Basar) as a client for deploying the platform. The institute will use the technology to verify requests from outside agencies that seek to ascertain the authenticity of certificates issued by the institute.

“The issue of fake certificates has become a big issue. It is quite tough for recruiters, higher educational institutions and other stakeholders to check the authenticity of a particular certificate. Blockchain can address this problem once and for all,” Babu Munagala, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Zebi, told BusinessLine.

Zebi, which has about 40 employees in Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Hyderabad, is planning to add 60 more in the current calendar year. Its blockchain solution for the hospitality sector has 600 customers (hotels) in Andhra Pradesh.

The firm entered into a memorandum of understanding with IIIT (Basar) last week at the maiden International Blockchain Congress, to implement the project.

“The educational institution that wants to join the platform will act as a node with full control on the data they own. They will receive requests from stakeholders to a verify a particular certificate issued by them. They will vet the request and give an answer, checking their database,” he said.

Zebi has already developed a blockchain-based solution for land records and the hospitality industry, which is being used by various hotels in Andhra Pradesh.

According to him, it can be a revenue generator for educational institutions as they verify each certificate. Zebi gets transaction fee on the verification requests made by the stakeholders.

“We have a plan to develop a solution to award digital certificates to students, which makes authentication much more easy,” he said.

Quoting an IBEF report, he said the education industry is poised to be a $36-billion industry by 2025. “Given the importance, hackers and malicious insiders have large incentive to tamper or manipulate digital data. The only foolproof solution lies in a properly decentralised blockchain solution,” he pointed out.

With millions of young Indians expected to join the labour force in the coming years, a system that gives tamper-proof verification of education records would be critical.

“Employers all over the country spend millions of dollars every year in verification of education records. The costs could be drastically reduced by implementing a secure blockchain-based system,” he said. This system would also double as a data exchange framework for secure sharing of education records across the value chain.