Fujitsu and Sony think blockchain is the best way to store education records

Learning data of students will be stored and managed as 'unfalsifiable data on a blockchain', in lieu of a paper certificate with pretty gold embossing.

Fujitsu Limited, the Fujitsu Research Institute, and Sony Global Education have joined forces to trial a blockchain-based method for proving a student is as proficient in Japanese as they claim to be.

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The field trial that kicked off on Wednesday in partnership with foreign student-focused educational institution Human Academy Co, will explicitly target students wishing to study abroad in Japan.

Before studying in Japan, the students are required to take a course on Nihongo Kentei language proficiency. The course will be conducted via Fujitsu's Fisdom digital learning platform.

The companies said the learning data of each student, including study logs and grade information, will be stored and managed as "unfalsifiable data on a blockchain" -- so a certificate, just on a computer.

Educational institutions can then check the validity of the student's claimed language ability by looking at the certificate that is stored in the blockchain, rather than a physical certificate, it is claimed.

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  Overview of the field trial

"Human Academy, as the educational institution that will accept and teach these foreign students, will be able to accurately grasp the language ability of individual students based on this highly reliable data, by comparing the certificate data on the blockchain with the educational certificates submitted by the prospective students," the companies wrote in a statement.

The trial will go for a month, ending March 29, 2019, and the three companies will also consider opening up the use of blockchain to cover study logs and grade information collected during the trial.

The Australian government's Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) recently gave advice to those getting lost in the buzz of blockchain.

"It is the DTA's current position that blockchain is an emerging technology worthy of ongoing observation. However, without standardisation and additional work, for many uses of blockchain, there are currently other mature technologies that may be more suitable for immediate use," is the agency's official position.

Addressing Senate Estimates in October, DTA chief digital officer Peter Alexander dunked on its use, adding to the above that "for every use of blockchain you would consider today, there is a better technology -- alternate databases, secure connections, standardised API engagement".

"Blockchain: Interesting technology but early on in its development, it's kind of at the top of a hype cycle," he said.

The government entity has even published a questionnaire for organisations to self-evaluate before bothering with something that can just be stored in a secure database.

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