Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
Real world applications of blockchain are always nice to see. Until now, markets have been dominated by speculation on what ‘could’ be.
In a positive development, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), announced on December 17th, that they would be issuing transcripts via blockchain.
This issuance will take place as part of a pilot-project, and makes SAIT the first Canadian school to do so. The program will first issue transcripts to a graduating class of 25 in the ‘Pre-Employment Automotive Service Technician’ program.
SAIT President and CEO, Dr. David Ross, commented, “At SAIT we are thought leaders and this is a strong example of how we’re increasing our value proposition for graduates and employers…This is only the beginning as we continue to put the potential of blockchain technology into practice.”
On-Demand Education Marketplace
The pilot project is made possible through the use of the On-Demand Education Marketplace (ODEM). This is a custom built platform, which offers various educational services. Built on the Ethereum blockchain, the platform is able to tap into the inherent benefits of blockchain, such as immutability and accessibility.
ODEM’s CEO, Richard Maaghul, commented, “I’m very excited for SAIT, its students, faculty and staff whose passion it is to shape a new world as entrepreneurs and leaders…What a great way to fulfill their mission by becoming the first Canadian school to securely store and share its students’ accomplishments with the world.”
Why is it needed?
Unfortunately, employers nationwide are experiencing increasing levels of transcript fraud. Often incompetitive job fields, applicants will resort to fraudulent representation in order to be awarded positions.
Beyond simple fraud, the traditional process of receiving a transcript is cumbersome. For an employer to request a transcript requires contact to be made with the registrar’s office, and have the transcript mailed to the applicant. This is an inefficient way to spend valuable workhours. SAIT registrar, Neera Arora, touched on this issue by stating, “It’ll also be easy for graduates to have the credentials with them wherever they are. In the past they had to request the organization order a transcript and our unit here would be processing the transcripts and mailing it to them.”
By issuing transcripts via the blockchain, they can be accessed at any time, through the use of the ODEM platform – Saving everyone involved in the process time and effort.
A Global Trend
While this pilot project may be the first of its kind in Canada, there have been various examples of educational institutions following the same path around the world. Below are a few known examples of such blockchain implementation.
Obviously, SAIT has recognized blockchain as a technology that will be pivotal in the future. With this in mind, they are not only utilizing the technology itself, but tech the fundamentals.
In a partnership with IBM, SAIT has recently begun offeringthe ‘IBM Skills Academy Blockchain Fundamentals’ course.
Due to the infancy of the technology, there is unfortunately a lack of public knowledge on the matter. Furthermore, there are large shortages of qualified applicants for positions in the emerging market. By offering such courses, SAIT is doing their part to ensure the continued adoption of blockchain – and their graduates will be able to prove their credentials using that very technology.