Malta to issue blockchain certificates for students

Illustration: Source code hovers in the air. (source: Pixabay/xresch)

The Ministry for Education and Employment (MEDE) and blockchain firm Learning Machine signed a two-year agreement to offer so-called Blockcerts to all Maltese education institutions and their students, according to a press statement by the government’s Department of Information (DOI).

With the help of these Blockcerts, academic credentials such as diplomas, school leaving certificates, and transcripts will be issued to Maltese students in an internationally portable, instantly verifiable digital format, the statement says. Educational institutions will also continue to receive official accreditation certificates on the blockchain for instant verification of status.

Current progress comes after MEDE and three educational institutions: the Malta College of Arts Science and Technology (MCAST), the Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS), and the National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE) completed a national pilot of Blockcerts blockchain credentials.

“In 2017, we said Malta should become ‘the blockchain island’. And it has. Malta is leading its peers when it comes to emerging technologies and digital innovation,” Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said during his address when the progress was announced.

The Ministry for Education partnered with Learning Machine in 2017 to launch a pilot project where academic credentials were issued using blockchain as a secure anchor of trust. Among other recipients of this pilot project, students at ITS and MCAST were presented their credentials on blockchain during their respective graduation ceremonies, the DOI statement reminds.

“What we are doing today is another small step in fulfilling the challenge set to us by our prime minister to be amongst the first in Europe but the world. But in order to do that, we need economic growth, social justice, education, and technology to be able to have practical visions where we set ourselves ambitious objectives and work hard to meet them,” said Minister for Education and Employment Evarist Bartolo.

Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri said that the time is ripe to translate what was garnered from this pilot project onto a national level. “Our future generations will be the fortunate beneficiaries of today’s momentous signing,” the finance minister said.

Minister Schembri added that as of October 2019 new specialised Master courses will open focusing on Blockchain and DLT in Business and Finance, Law and Regulation, and Information and Communication Technology.

The Ministry for Education and Employment Permanent Secretary Francis Fabri and Learning Machine Technologies President and Chief Operation Officer Dan Hughes sealed the agreement. Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sport and Voluntary Organisations Clifton Grima were also present during the press conference.