Blockchain is getting a lot of attention from universities around the world. It is a hot new field of study, but it can also help universities to share information securely. Higher education is one of the most important areas of modern life. A degree from a prestigious university can be extremely valuable. Unfortunately, there is no international system that helps to establish the legitimacy of a degree.
Today a person who studies in the USA is likely to seek employment in the global job market. Any employer wants to make sure that a potential employee’s educational credentials are accurate. The only way to confirm an educational record today requires direct contact with a university, and potentially other schools as well.
In light of this fact, numerous educational institutions came together to create the Groningen Declaration. In short, the Groningen Declaration is a an international effort to streamline information sharing in the global educational community. Today universities are also faced with new challenges to their existing fields of study, which expanded blockchain curriculum could help them overcome.
Blockchain Could be the Global Education Hub
So far more than 40 US universities have signed on to the Groningen Declaration. Globally this number is much higher. Despite the international push for easier access to secure academic records, there has been little in the way of agreement on how the platform could develop further in the real world.
According to a report that was authored by Merija Jirgensons and Janis Kapenieks of Riga Technical University (RTU) in Latvia, there doesn’t seem to be a consensus emerging on how best to structure a global blockchain platform. To wit, “The Europeans, especially in the UK, have preferred Ethereum; while the Americans have opted for the bitcoin blockchain,” the report states.
The report from RTU goes on to say that, “Most states in the EU are planning blockchain strategies to fit national agendas, and most employ the Ethereum blockchain.” The report cites the MIT Blockcerts application as an example, “(MIT Blockcerts) is currently unavailable for Ethereum,” which is the architecture favored by government developers in Europe.
The Need for New Ideas is Everywhere
The university system is famous for being slow to adapt to new technology. The rise in DLT is a perfect example of how higher education has been left behind, and is refusing to adopt a more market-oriented approach to their information architecture.
When blockchain programs are offered to university students, the level of interest has been extremely high. Blockchain is being researched by numerous global mega-corporations, and has received support that can be measured in the billions of dollars by governments. If universities keep resisting blockchain-based platforms, they risk being shut out of an emerging development culture.
Students Love Blockchain!
While many universities have been slow to invest in blockchain education, the University of California at Berkeley (UoC Berkeley), is working on bringing together blockchain technology, education, and the community. Ben Bartlett asked an assembly of students at UoC Berkeley, “We have at least 1,400 homeless people in our city, and that includes many right here at UC Berkeley,” Councilman Bartlett told the class. “So how can we use blockchain to fund a new prosperity? That’s a challenge I’d like you to take on.”
The class that city council member Ben Bartlett was addressing is being taught by Po Chi Wu, who is a visiting professor and former venture capitalist. UoC Berkeley isn’t alone in offering blockchain courses to their students. New York University, Stanford, and Georgetown are also jumping into a field that has created a 200% rise in job postings on a yearly basis.
In a field that is just beginning to hit the mainstream, universities that choose to develop curriculum that helps their students enter a growing industry are going to secure long term access to the blockchain world via their alumni. For the moment there is little interaction between the government in the US and nascent blockchain-focused university departments, which is another area where other nations seem to be pulling ahead of the USA.