Humaniq Blockchain Education App Seeks to Mitigate African School Challenges
Humaniq – How This Blockchain Platform Can Mitigate Challenges Facing the African Education Sector
The importance of education in promoting the economic development of an area cannot be underestimated. However, the high costs of quality education coupled up with the uneven distribution of prestigious learning institutions often inhibits a majority of the youth from accessing this basic need. As a result, the enormous potential harbored in these young brains usually goes to waste. Nevertheless, there is still hope regarding this matter, thanks to blockchain technology.
As of now, universities have started suing blockchain technology and the results are remarkable. The costs of administration have reduced by significant margins and fees have become more affordable, increasing the number of students as a result. Last year, the University of Nicosia started using blockchain technology to award diplomas and certificates, as well as accepting cryptocurrency payments as free for Master’s degree programs. Furthermore, the tertiary institution has attracted a high number of foreign students because of the ‘pay as you go’ fee payment system that is free of remittance charges, and the introduction of a variety of online courses.
Other notable universities that are currently leveraging the disruptive potential of the blockchain to revolutionize education include MIT, Sony and the Open Blockchain University. Over time, blockchain is expected to eliminate intermediaries and establish direct interactions between teachers and students, an aspect that could create new learning opportunities for those that are currently unable to join a course. For instance, when a learner watches an online tutorial, the content creator will receive a small amount as payment.
In addition to the high illiteracy in the continent, African educators are often confronted with the challenge of inadequate financial support. For this reason, a significant number of players in the education sector have resorted to using the blockchain to counter this challenges and promote education. In this regard, early childhood centers in South Africa have started using blockchain apps, albeit in trial mode. These apps are being used to assist teachers, students, program directors, and government officials.
The United Nations International Child Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is an avid supporter of blockchain initiatives within the education industry. Besides encouraging the participation of more children, such incentives provide a reliable source for crucial data on varying education needs and demographics. Blockchain integration also reduces the volume of paperwork stored in schools by digitizing information, while the data sourced from these institutions can prove useful in attracting funding from well-wishers. Although blockchain adoption in the education sector has shown significant progress, there is still a considerable amount of work to be done to overcome perennial problems such as cumbersome administration, insufficient funding and poor evidence for potential donors.
Low level of attendance is perhaps the most significant challenge to education in sub-Saharan Africa, alongside with the issues mentioned above. According to the UNESCO Instituted of Statistics, an estimated 20% of children aged between six and 11 are not going to school, while 33% of children within the 12-14 age bracket are out if school. By the age of 15, most of the youth become truants. The gravity of this matter has caused it to be labeled as an emergency. This problem is heavily attributed to poverty and financial exclusion. Due to the high population growth rates in sub-Saharan Africa, there is a high number of low-income earners in the region. Since the earnings of parents/guardians are not sufficient to feed entire families, an astounding 40% of kids aged between five and 14 are forced to seek employment to complement the deficit. As per the International Labor Organization, the present inadequacies impel the children to focus on the current situation, rather than their future.
Despite the abolishment of fees in public schools, many students are still unable to attend due to other school-related expenses such as uniform, bus fare, books and other learning accessories. In Tanzania, for example, where enrollment is mandatory for children aged over seven, those who attend school are facing serious challenges because of the poor living standards at their homes. Still, in Tanzania, the percentage of students who successfully complete their secondary school education is substantially lower than those who complete primary education. Precisely, 50% of students pass primary education, whereas only a paltry 10% pass secondary education. Consequently, most of these students are blocked from accessing employment opportunities.
Most of Africans (approximately 67%0) lack a bank account, meaning that they cannot access loans to fund the education of their children. Therefore, there is need to seek alternative ways of ending illiteracy and poverty.
Humaniq is a blockchain-driven solution that aims to empower the economically-challenged so that they can realize their goals. Essentially, this platform provides biometric IDs to underprivileged Africans, enabling them to access a variety of financial services that were previously inaccessible. Although it is primarily meant for keeping financial records, this ID is equally applicable to the education sector, especially in keeping performance records. With Europe and the US already has set a precedent in integrating blockchain in the education sector, the introduction of this unique ID would grant ace to the African population.
Furthermore, Humaniq will also provide the financial accounts that are currently available to only a few people in Africa. By the end of 2018, Humaniq intends to have added at least one million new accounts, enabling people to earn and learn. Humaniq will allow individuals and institutional clients to revive funding without incurring transaction costs. The application already supports deposits from donors and well-wishers.
In summary, blockchain can be used to benefit both the society and the economy. In this case, this technology creates opportunities for the ever-growing number of smartphone users in Africa. The efforts put in by Humaniq have been acknowledged internationally, with the British Parliamentary Group on Blockchain recognizing the project as one of the world's best uses cases of blockchain for the development of societies.
Notably, blockchain technology outshines the Internet when it comes to linking people to life-changing opportunities. Unlike the Internet which rewards corporate giants, blockchain technology empowers the people through the establishment of a peer-to-peer economy. Therefore, blockchain is the way to go if we want to put an end to persistent problems such as illiteracy and poverty.