Blog > 2021 > April > Blockchain finally comes of age with the world’s biggest blockchain deployment

Blockchain finally comes of age with the world’s biggest blockchain deployment

Technology rollout to 5 million Ethiopian students and their teachers brings a new unique solution to improve educational outcomes and futures

27 April 2021 John O'Connor 3 mins read

Blockchain finally comes of age with the world’s biggest blockchain deployment

Today we have announced an exciting new partnership with the Ethiopian Government to implement a national, blockchain-based student and teacher ID and attainment recording system to digitally verify grades, remotely monitor school performance, and boost education and employment nationwide.

We’ll deliver this using our identity solution – Atala PRISM, built on Cardano, which will enable authorities to create tamper-proof records of educational performance across 3,500 schools, 5 million students, and 750,000 teachers to pinpoint the locations and causes of educational under-achievement and allocate educational resources effectively.

This will provide all students with blockchain-verified digital qualifications to reduce fraudulent university and job applications, and increase social mobility by allowing employers to verify all applicants’ grades without third-party agencies.

Tamper-proof data management

The blockchain-based national identity system is at the heart of Digital Ethiopia 2025 – the country’s Digital Transformation strategy. The government recently issued a national identity standard and the Atala PRISM blockchain ID will be the first system to issue IDs based on this standard. The strategy seeks to drive the country’s transformation through the digitalization of sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism. As part of this, Ethiopia is also examining the wider adoption of our Atala products, which include the PRISM platform, for everything from blockchain-based ‘track-and-trace’ of smallholder agricultural supply chains to digital IDs for transport or healthcare. We are already in discussions around the use of blockchain-based digital identity for two other multi-million user applications.

Educational endeavor

The use of Cardano will allow for accurate tracking of individual grades, behavior, attendance, and educational attainment across all kindergartens, elementary schools, and general secondary schools. Teachers will also use the system to manage schedules or transfers, and report behavior or dropouts. The project could ultimately be extended to universities where degrees are also digitally verified on the Cardano blockchain, allowing employers to easily validate the authenticity of applicants' educational credentials.

The Ethiopian government is providing five million teachers and students with tablets and a dedicated internet network, giving all students instant access to their academic records. This will open up higher education and employment opportunities for the 80% of Ethiopia’s population living in rural regions. Student IDs will be paired with data from Learning Management Systems and harnessed by machine learning algorithms to drive personalized tuition, a dynamic curriculum, and data-driven policies and funding.

We have long recognized that developing countries could uniquely benefit from blockchain technology because of their lack of embedded, legacy digital systems and the fact that blockchains are lower cost than cumbersome infrastructure. Hence, we are already working with other governments on using blockchain to digitize public services, including a project with Georgia’s Ministry of Education pioneering the use of its Atala products to underpin a blockchain-based system for verifying graduate degrees. In 2019, we also ran a pioneering all-female software development training program focusing on blockchain solutions.

Our partnership announcement with the Ethiopian government is a groundbreaking first step in our mission to help drive decentralized digital transformation in Africa. Make sure to join us for our #CardanoAfrica show on the 29th of April to find out more about our wider work on the continent, including several other new partner announcements.