21 - February / 2019

Andorra will be one of the first countries in the world to certify academic degrees with Blockchain

Andorra will digitalize and register the academic titles of higher education with Blockchain at the end of this academic year, to become one of the pioneering countries in using this technology, which allows to gain in security, time and economic savings. One of the main novelties is that it guarantees the reliability of the documents issued and will mean that, in the future, it will no longer be necessary to have an apostille in the recognition of qualifications at an international level. In addition, the titles will be digital documents that are easy to access and verify for educational institutions, providing all the guarantees of reliability and data access.
 
The project is developed within the framework of the Blockchain Lab that Actua has promoted with the collaboration of the Government of Andorra, Andorra Telecom and FEDA, to explore the potential of this technology in practical applications in the country. The working group has incorporated the Andorran company BTC Assessors, in charge of co-designing and execution of the project’s technical solutions.
 
The aim is to expand the issuance of titles with this technology
 
The Minister of Education and Higher Education, Eric Jover, said this pilot test consists of digitizing and registering state higher education degrees (Advanced Professional Diploma-DPA-Bachelor, Master and Doctorate) as well as complementary European Diplomas (SED) with Blockchain. Jover also explained that, if the results are as expected, the aim is to expand the issuance of degrees with this technology to lower levels and starting negotiations with foreign higher education institutions where Andorrans are studying, so that their digital degrees are accepted, avoiding therefore paper degrees format duly apostilled.
 
An immutable and decentralized registry
 
Actua Innovació’s director, Marc Pons, highlighted that "Blockchain technology allows the creation of an immutable register, which cannot be modified or eliminated. By creating a decentralized public registry, information about academic degrees is securely stored. It also manages to validate the authenticity of the document through the use of cryptographic digital signature technologies and public key infrastructures (PKI).
 
Pons recalled the process of issuing and validating academic degrees is, until now, a fully analogical process, which requires the signatures of a representative of the issuing institution and a representative of the State. Since the format is traditional and the signatures are handwritten, validating the title requires administrative tasks and further expenses.
 
Andorra Telecom has launched a digital transformation program
 
Andorra Telecom’s general director, Jordi Nadal, introduced two of the company's technicians in charge of the digital transformation program. "It is a technology with which we have already developed some internal proof of concept and we are convinced that it will have many applications”. Nadal added Andorra Telecom has launched a program that has among its objectives the promotion of innovation. "For us it is also an additional stimulus to participate in a country project that positions our company at an international level.
 
It is planned the first degrees issued with this technology will be those of the higher education graduates of the academic year 2018-2019. During a first period, the degrees will be issued in both supports, (paper and digital support) which will not imply an increase in the cost of the degree.