Sony Blockchain Platform Fights Fake Education Qualifications

The local media reports, that the multinational Japanese conglomerate Sony and the IT equipment maintenance company Fujitsu created a blockchain based platform for storing and transmitting documentation related to professional education. Both companies believe, that their experiment will help to reduce the number of fake education qualifications.

Sony and Fujitsu will fight fake education with the help of Sony subsidiary

To reduce fraudulent activity in the educational sector, two multinational Japanese giants partnered with Fujitsu Research Institute and Human Academy Co. The Sony blockchain platform, as the local media reports, will enable the Japanese schools to compare certificates with data registered on the blockchain to verify the authenticity of the documents. The new Sony and Fujitsu project was launched by combining Fujitsu's online learning system called Fisdom with a blockchain platform developed by Sony's subsidiary Sony Global Education Inc. Fujitsu Fisdom announced their common with Sony project launch on Twitter.  

Masaaki Isuzu (pictured below), the Global Sony Education Inc. president, in one of his previous interviews mentioned, that "most of the local schools and districts in Japan have their own databases for student or teacher information, which may be shared with other institutions using insecure methods."

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Sony Global Education Inc president added :

“Based on the blockchain technology, information becomes a valuable asset. Open and accessible educational data will be a key to exchanging human skill and time in the future.” 

Sony blockchain  platform target audience is foreign students relocating in Japan

According to Japanese law, every foreigner who wants to live and study in Japan must obtain a certificate of the Japanese language proficiency at the Immigration Bureau. These certificates may be issued by Japanese educational institutions which are located abroad. The database, which uses blockchain technology is supposed to prevent falsification of the documents on language skills, which some foreigners might allegedly use to obtain resident status. Illegal copies of language certificates have already been reported in several different countries. The Japanese press claims that students without proper language qualifications may face difficulties in their daily lives in Japan.

Sony Global Education previous collaboration with IBM

Sony already experimented with the new ways of managing educational information and chronicling students’ performances and academic achievements before. A year ago Sony Global Education group teamed up with IBM to moderate the Global Math Challenge that has seen over 250,000 participants since its inception. The contest utilized the blockchain empowered learning history management system and the project moderators tried out a service for issuing test results digitally. The transcripts of the participants from the 5th Global Math Challenge, which was held from December 1 to 10, will be stored on the Sony educational blockchain platform.

Sony blockchain platform partners in brief

Fisdom is a new JMOOC accredited platform based on the concept of "Freedom is Wisdom. Knowledge is Freedom" that offers free learning places.

Sony Global Education is designed to be used for math and various other applications, covering all the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). “Our system is an open, accessible educational data storage,” says Sony Global Education President Masaaki Isozu.

Fujitsu research institute that was founded in 1986 is one of the few Japanese think tanks and consulting firms with expertise, and currently focuses on the topic related to social entrepreneurship and innovation as a new research field.

Blockchain has far wider ranging potential applications and it is not only about crypto

Last year, during Fujitsu forum, Joseph Reger a Fujitsu Fellow and CTO, EMEIA assured that the blockchain technology application could improve many industries and should not be associated only with crypto. During one of his interviews Reger stated:

Cryptocurrency is a missed service to all other really exciting applications of blockchain…depending on what industry you are looking at you can find different blockchain jobs that can do well. [..] in the area of healthcare, industrial production, and public sector administration a large chain can me tremendously helpful. All industries need a trustworthy immutable secure data store that can be used not just to trade but for other interactions in life where we can be certain that facts are true, certain things did happen and certain transactions are recorded properly

Frederik de Breuck Head of Fujitsu’s Blockchain Innovation Center in Brussels noted:

“Blockchain primary use is not the crypto, we’re looking at the of certain of certain elements to specific business cases in multiple industries. Anything that becomes transaction in this modern world you want to bring trust in the untrusted world“

In addition, with their new field trial, Fujitsu plans to promote the utilization of blockchain throughout the educational field, and aims for a future society in which data associated with an individual's learning can be utilized safely and securely beyond the framework of companies and educational institutions.

How the Sony blockchain platform project will fight fake education?

According to the Sony blockchain platform project description, during a trial period, "it will be used to compare the contents of educational certificates submitted by prospective exchange students to the learning data stored on the blockchain, including course records and grades."

Prospective students coming from abroad and willing to study in Japan will be asked to take the Nihongo Dojo course from EDVEC aimed at supporting students in obtaining Nihongo Kentei Japanese language qualifications, through the Fisdom online course platform in advance of their study abroad program. The course platform will collect data including test scores and study time, and store them on a blockchain as a certificate. Human Academy will be able to accurately check the language ability of students based on this data, by comparing the certificate data on the blockchain with the educational certificates submitted by the prospective students, making it possible to support them with appropriate education suited to their individual skill levels after coming to Japan. Fujitsu and Sony blockchain platform trial period starts on February 27, 2019, through March 29, 2019

The Sony blockchain platform contributors roles

According to the project description, each participant roles will be the following :

  1. Sony Global Education will issue highly reliable certificates and provide evaluation functionality. 
  2. Fujitsu provides the Fisdom digital learning platform to the educational institutions and blockchain cloud services to Sony Global Education
  3. Fujitsu Research Institute will investigate the needs of educational institutions and propose business models for implementation in society

All project participants also plan to evaluate not only the study results of foreign workers and prospective exchange students but also their study processes and attitudes toward learning, through a more multifaceted analysis of collected study logs and grade information. 

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