Last week at the World Bank we had a very well attended seminar on the story of blockchain in education. It featured a presentation by Natalie Smolenski (Anthropologist and Vice President, Business Development Department, Learning Machine), followed by remarks by Juliana Guaqueta. The session, “Practical lessons from the use of blockchain in education: Digital certificates in tertiary education, the story of Blockcerts (so far),” introduced the blockchain technology and its applications in education. Natalie gave examples from around the world, including its use at MIT, Bahamas and Malta, Cyprus and a glimpse into the future of technology in education. An obvious use of this technology and the app that Learning Machine uses, Blockcerts (which I have on my phone) is to certify credentials and reduce fraud in higher education degrees. I knew this was a problem, but not to the extent that Natalie reported. More than half of the PhD degrees in the USA are fraudulent! More than 85% of job applicants report credentials they don’t have. More notes on the seminar and some other links (thanks to May Bend):
- Ease of getting a job: Example MITs Digital Diplomas
- Blockcerts were incubated at MIT starting in 2016 (related blog)
- The European Commission’s Blockchain in Education (Nov 2017)
- Blockchain and student loans: a solution to an urgent problem? (Fintech)
- The Real Solution to Student Debt Crisis: Blockchain-based Income Share Agreements
- How blockchain can truly revolutionize higher education (Forbes)
Other tech news:
Other news and research:
Education Policy in Japan Japan’s education system is one of the top performers compared to other OECD countries. International assessments have not only demonstrated students’ and adults’ high level of achievement, but also the fact that socio-economic status has little bearing on academic results. In a nutshell, Japan combines excellence with equity. This high performance is based on the priority Japan places on education and on its holistic model of education, which is delivered by highly qualified teachers and supported by the external collaboration of communities and parents. But significant economic, socio-demographic and educational challenges, such as child well-being, teacher workload and the high stakes university exam, question the sustainability of this successful model. Policy makers in Japan are not complacent, and as Japan starts implementing its Third Basic Plan for the Promotion of Education (2018-22), they are carefully analysing tomorrow’s threats to Japan’s current success. This report aims to highlight the many strengths of Japan’s education system, as well as the challenges it must address to carry out reforms effectively and preserve its holistic model of education. The ultimate goal is to ensure that the education system delivers the best for all students, and that Japanese learners have the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values they need for the 21st century.
Choice and autonomy in Korea:
The effects of school choice on achievement gaps between private and public high schools: Evidence from the Seoul high school choice program (by Youngran Kim, in International Journal of Educational Development (2018) 60: 25-32) The achievement of private high schools is not significantly different from that of public high schools when there is no competition and student sorting between these two types of schools…Competition and autonomy minimally affect achievement gaps between public and private schools…Student sorting greatly increases private high school achievement relative to that of public high schools… In 2010, Seoul began a universal school choice program for high schools. The implementation of school choice introduced autonomy, competition, and sorting, barely existent when public and private schools were under strong governmental control. Using school-level panel data, this study investigated how a newly introduced school choice policy affected achievement gaps between private and public high schools… competition and autonomy have minimal impacts on the achievement of private and public high schools… student sorting did significantly increase the achievements of private high schools, widening existing gaps between public high schools….
Does greater school autonomy make a difference? Evidence from a randomized natural experiment in South Korea (by Youjin Hahn, Liang Choon Wang, Hee-Seung Yang, in Journal of Public Economics (2018) 161: 15-30) Private and public high schools in Seoul admit students assigned randomly to them… They receive equal government funding, charge same fees, and use similar curricula… Private high schools have better student outcomes than public high schools… Results suggest that autonomy in personnel decisions explains positive outcomes… Under South Korea’s equalization policy, both private and public schools in Seoul admit students that are assigned randomly to them, receive equal government funding, charge identical fees, and use similar curricula. However, private schools have greater flexibility in personnel decisions, and their principals and teachers face stronger incentives to perform… private high schools have better student outcomes than public high schools… autonomy in personnel decisions explains the positive student outcomes in private schools…