Blockchain in Education

Author(s) : Grech, Alexander ; Camilleri, Anthony F.

Organization : European Commission

Imprint : Luxembourg, European Union, 2017

Collation : p. 136

Blockchain is an emerging technology, with almost daily announcements on its applicability to everyday life. It is perceived to provide significant opportunities to disrupt traditional products and services due to the distributed, decentralised nature of blockchains, and features such as the permanence of the blockchain record, and the ability to run smart contracts. These features make blockchain technology-based products or services significantly different from previous internet-based commercial developments and of particular interest to the education sector – although education, with some minor exceptions, is not currently perceived to be high on the agenda of most countries with national blockchain initiatives. In addition, currently stakeholders within education are largely unaware of the social advantages and potential of blockchain technology. This report was produced to address this gap

This study investigates the feasibility, challenges, benefits and risks of blockchain technology in education, with a focus on the application of the blockchain to formal and non-formal credentials. It is an exploratory study which is aimed at policy makers and a non-specialist audience. The application of blockchain to education is extremely new – with little peer-reviewed published literature in the area.

This study represents an exploratory review of blockchain for education, focusing on the state-of-the-art of the field in Europe. Its primary target audience are policy-makers, educators, strategists and researchers with an interest in securing: i) a foundation knowledge of a new digital infrastructure which is widely touted in specialist and technical media for its potential to disrupt established sectors; ii) a pragmatic understanding of those areas most likely to be impacted by the uptake of the technology by EU Member States and education institutions currently experimenting with the technology.

The study therefore necessarily bridges desk research with an assessment of early movers in the field, bearing in mind that what is architected in the early days of technology adoption will determine the foundations and vulnerabilities of the future.

  • Access to education, Anti-corruption strategies, Intellectual property, Research, Transparency