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Japanese university taps blockchain technology for verification of educational records

Tue, 03 Dec 2019, 05:12 am UTC

The Muroran Institute of Technology, a national university in Hokkaido, Japan, is teaming up with Nippon Telegraph and Telephone West to use blockchain technology for verification of educational records, Nikkei Asian Review reported.

The blockchain-based service is slated to be launched by the year ending March 2020, making the institute the first in Japan to adopt the technology.

As per the report, the regional unit of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone are already operating a service that allows current and former university students to obtain proof of their degrees at convenience stores. The blockchain solution will reportedly build upon this existing service and also see participation from Sapporo-based system developer BarnardSoft.

According to a press release, the partnering members agreed to carry out the joint research on November 01. The Muroran Institute of Technology will provide its academic knowledge in blockchain technology, while NTT West will bring its operational know-how gained through "certificate issuing services" to the initiative.

“In addition to being able to easily issue digital certificates such as their degree and academic background regardless of location, individuals can certify at institutions that support this initiative based on their authenticity. We aim to realize a new self-certification platform that can handle a wide variety of schooling and working environments…,” a press release on the institute’s official website reads (via online translation).

The participants intend to expand the system to five universities starting in fiscal 2020.

"We hope to eventually have a system that also tracks job histories and qualifications, so each person can easily prove their records," said Muroran Institute professor Junichi Kishigami.

Governments and educational institutions around the world are increasingly looking to adopt blockchain technology for the management of academic credentials. Earlier this year, nine universities, including MIT and Harvard University Division of Continuing Education, teamed up to form the Digital Credentials collaboration to create a trusted, distributed, and shared infrastructure standard for issuing, storing, displaying, and verifying academic credentials.

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