IOHK partners with Ethiopia to store academic records on Cardano blockchain

  • IOHK has partnered with Ethiopia to create the world’s largest blockchain-based education management system on Cardano.
  • The project will provide 5 million students with a secure blockchain ID and record system from primary to tertiary school.

Blockchain development company IOHK has announced a groundbreaking new partnership with the Ethiopian Ministry of Education that will see all academic records in the country stored on the Cardano blockchain.

Announcing the news today, the company revealed that the project will provide 5 million students with a secure blockchain-based ID and record system. This would make it the largest blockchain deployment in an educational management system in the world to date.

Scope of the partnership

According to the announcement, IOHK’s Atala Prism ID will be deployed from genesis to service over 3,500 schools, 750,000 teachers, and 5 million students across the East African country. This ID will serve as a one-stop solution for tamper-proof record-keeping, grade verification and enhanced monitoring of school performance by the Ministry of Education.

Currently, Ethiopia like many other countries in the subregion lacks sufficient capacity to enforce regulatory standards for issues like mandatory school attendance. Atala PRISM ID proposes to solve these problems in a scalable and inexpensive manner by providing storage and access to grades, attendance and performance records on a blockchain, which is almost impossible to alter.

The Education Ministry hopes that this will solve issues like certificate fraud by providing easy and reliable verification for qualifications. This removes the need for employers to hire expensive 3rd party verification agencies. The enhanced visibility and insight is also expected to help authorities to identify areas of underachievement more easily, which makes them better placed to offer solutions.

In addition, it hopes to extend the partnership to cover Ethiopian universities, potentially creating the world’s first blockchain-hosted elementary-to-tertiary education management system. To this end, Ethiopian authorities are issuing all teachers and students with tablets connected to a dedicated network, giving them full access to their records.

Ethiopia’s big blockchain bet

As part of its ambitious ‘Digital Ethiopia 2025’ transformation strategy which seeks to digitalise education, manufacturing, tourism and agriculture, Ethiopia is aggressively adopting IOHK’s Cardano-based Atala products. An IoT pilot program to track smallholder agriculture supply chains and a blockchain-based healthcare records storage project are currently in the works, both using Atala technology.

Discussions are also underway to integrate a blockchain-based digital transport ticketing system with Addis Ababa’s metro transportation system. The government has also created a national identity standard that will be integrated with the Atala PRISM ID system.

According to IOHK’s African Operations Director John O’Connor, the success of the Ethiopian partnership could herald a new age of blockchain-based leapfrogging across Africa. In his words:

Ethiopia’s blockchain-based education transformation is a key milestone on IOHK’s mission to provide economic identities and employment, social and financial services for the digitally excluded. After five years of R&D, Cardano is now mature enough to underpin a blockchain solution which can scale to serve an entire national population. This project could light the touch-paper for a wave of third-generation blockchain innovation across Africa and the developing world, bringing vital services to those who have previously been cut off from them.

About Author

David is a writer, investigative journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared on CNN, The Africa Report, The New Yorker Magazine and The Washington Post. His work as a satirist on 'The Other News,' Nigeria's answer to The Daily Show has featured in the New Yorker Magazine and in the Netflix documentary 'Larry Charles' Dangerous World of Comedy.' In 2018, he was nominated by the US State Department for the 2019 Edward Murrow program for journalists under the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP). In February 2021, he won the People Journalism Prize for Africa 2020. He tweets at @DavidHundeyin

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