How blockchain can change education in Thailand

by Erich R. Sysak

 Everyone has heard of blockchain technology by now and few of us understand why it’s such a big deal. This article offers several important ways education in Thailand could radically change with the use of blockchain applications.

     The first implementation of blockchain technology will be for records and documentation such as: transcripts, grades, diplomas and credentials. Currently, these forms of documentation in Thailand are very slow and laborious and unreliable because much of it is done by hand and rarely verified. I am certain you have copied and signed forms in triplicate many times! 

     Blockchain will allow all student and faculty and institutional records to be instantly available, completely verifiable, immutable and private. No additional verifications would be necessary as any record on the chain can be completely trusted. Everyone will have access to their own records at all times. There will be no need to request records from a third party or middleman.

     It will still be possible, at this time, for forged diplomas to be passed on to employers. The use of blockchain is not yet ubiquitous, so there must be a way for schools to verify diplomas from applicants to teaching positions. Perhaps, when blockchain is in wider use, there will be more time for training about transcripts, diplomas and how to verify them and school employees will improve their practices. Sony Global Education has developed an application for transcripts: https://www.sonyged.com/2017/12/14/news/blockchain-site-launch/

     The same digital document services also apply to identity management. The student ID will be unforgettable and 100% reliable. There are many congruent applications in activities such as alumni associations and networks, services and privileges extended to alumni such as tickets, library use, database access and campus events. These are easily managed with blockchain applications many of which are already developed and in use now.

     The consensual nature of the blockchain can also be applied to translating services. English language translation is an enormous industry in country and not always reliable. Certified translations are often not as helpful as we hope, but we are stuck with the legal reality. Blockchain apps could allow documents that need translation to be submitted to all nodes. Smart contracts could be set up for translators or editors to earn tokens or coins for contributing to translations. The key change: incentives to consistently improve the accuracy of translations will improve their reliability. Many editors improves the authority of a translation. The best version will always be the longest chain.

Collaboration will improve when published research is stored on blockchain systems. There will be no need to stumble through complicated, publisher’s access points. Scholarly communication can improve with more detailed or prolonged peer-review processes. One can even imagine a continuous peer review process compared to the static, slow nature of publishing today. The publish or perish paradigm could finally evolve into something new and more dynamic.

      Hopefully, just these few opportunities I have described will help you imagine how the blockchain protocol can radically change the education sector. The business development opportunities coincide with 4.0 initiatives supported by the government and our schools desperately need an upgrade. As a result, I doubt anything can stop the blockchain protocol from developing.

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