Chief Information Officers are continuously facing challenges especially in education. According to George Akhras, CIO at UAE based Academia Management Solutions International, school management company that provides services including school design and construction, curriculum planning, and academic-related related IT services, states, “The CIO in education is nowadays responsible for digital transformation and integrating IT in the school or university development strategy — introducing and deploying new disruptive technologies to mainstream teaching and learning to preserve the institution’s competitive edge in providing top-notch but cost-effective education to students without compromising the profit, to guarantee continuity and improvement.”
In the last few years AMSI has launched a blockchain-based records-management system and enhanced its learning management system (LMS) to offer a virtual classroom experience for students. “Change is difficult and in some cases resisted; the most effective way is to start from the top. When the management and senior leadership teams subscribe to the new systems and accept the change all other staff will follow,” Akhras says.
AMSI’s experience with blockchain shows what role the distributed ledger technology can play in world of education to stay. It can automate record-keeping and distribution of degrees and exams while securing against fraud, such as plagiarism and unauthorized changes in grades.
All AMSI school certificates and transcripts have been published on a blockchain system since May 2019. AMSI started exploring the technology at the end of 2017 and by mid-2018 some high school diplomas were digitized and published on the blockchain. Every student in the graduating class of 2019 received an e-diploma during the graduation ceremony.
This academic year, all students from K-12 at AMSI schools are going to receive digital copies of all their school documents on the blockchain. For its blockchain implementation, AMSI uses Hyperledger built by Blockchain firm Educhain.
According to AMSI, its graduates will be fully in control of the academic records they request and receive and the complexity of the related administrative processes will be decreased. Records may be requested online, released in real time, and shared as deemed necessary, instantly without any third party’s involvement. Meanwhile, other schools, universities or companies are able to verify the authenticity of the credentials in AMSI’s verification portal.
“All AMSI schools’ student records are digitized. This data is securely stored on our private cloud which is hosted on many servers in our campuses and with providers in and outside of the UAE,” Akhras says.