The Cardano network plans to put forward a bid to the Ethiopian government proposing blockchain technology for a national ID system.
Charles Hoskinson revealed the scheme while updating the crypto community on progress made by the Cardano team in Ethiopia, where the Ethereum co-founder is exploring the potential of blockchain in developing contexts.
Cardano has been assisting Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education with the goal of building a blockchain-based universal student credentialing system. The project is due to go live in Q3 2021.
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The Input Output HK (IOHK) team have demonstrated the project’s infrastructure will be capable of enabling administrators to create tamper-proof education records across 3,500 schools – this means 750,000 teachers interacting with the blockchain data of five million students on the back of the Cardano ecosystem.
Hoskinson explained the rapid rollout of the Cardano system in the country, alongside touching on the human rights concerns in Ethiopia relating to the Tigray conflict.
“We’ve got about a million people onboarded,” he said.
“It’s K through 12, and we’re going to do the first launch I think, sometime in September or October.
“It’s our intention to compete amongst others for the whole national ID system, which is about 110 million people.”
In relation to the ongoing conflict in northern Ethiopia’s, the ADA founder was quick to defend the project’s continued assistance to the Ethiopian government.
“Regimes like China or Saudi Arabia have an onerous record of very significant institutional violations,” he argued.
“There, it makes no sense to build identity solutions or blockchain solutions. Because there’s a high probability that those solutions are going to be abused and weaponised against the population.
“You have to balance every deal – you look at first the country level and then you work your way to the facts and circumstances.
“Things change – and in some cases you have to leave, even after you spent years working in a country.”
Indeed, Ethiopia’s higher education system possess many challenges for ADA, not least of which a troubled record with corruption – especially nepotism and misappropriation of resources.
Ethiopia triples primary school enrolments
Atala PRISM identity solution will unlock the power of blockchain technology across Ethiopia’s education system facilitating better administration. Cardano’s framework will allow educational under-achievement to be targeted with allocated educational resources to improve access to opportunities for high quality education.
Ethiopia has made considerable progress in educational development over the past two decades, with primary school enrolments tripling between 2000 and 2016, according to UNICEF.
This remarkable expansion of access to education has posed new challenges for the vast nation – with massive pressure for a robust national education administration infrastructure capable of tracking the tripled number of students and teachers.
The project is therefore trying to provide infrastructure for a blockchain-verification system for digital qualifications in order to stop educational fraud in relation to employment.
However, the system will also facilitate student and teacher records, allowing the digital verification of grades and the remote monitoring of school performance for the targeting of additional support.
Student’s blockchain IDs will connect data from Learning Management Systems (LMS) and be put through a machine learning algorithm to help tailor tuition and curriculum, while also informing educational policy and funding decisions.
Cardano boosts employment and education
Hoskinson argues this will boost education and employment, and remains confident the Cardano team will be able to make a viable and attractive proposal for a bigger national ID architecture.
The Ethiopian government has plans to issue all teachers and students in the country with educational tablet computers connected to a national internet network – this move attempts to tackle the poor rate of internet access in the country (around 15%).
According to figures from the World Bank– 78% of Ethiopia’s population live in rural areas – a decline of seven per cent since 2000.
By providing significant investment into innovative IT infrastructures for the education system, the growing country hopes to improve higher educational attainment and employment opportunities available to a broader cross-section of Ethiopians – a move aimed at expanding the emergent middle class.
Teachers will be offered a reporting mechanism within the blockchain system, allowing them to highlight vulnerable students demonstrating challenges such as truancy.
It is likely that the project will be extended to the university system in the country following a successful public rollout for the state school system this autumn.
Atala PRISM has already been successfully piloted in a project with Georgia’s Ministry of Education, with the ADA system validating verifications for graduate degrees out of the public higher education system.
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