Degree fraud is unfortunately a common phenomenon observed in Lebanon. In October, the Higher Education Council fined 3 universities as a judicial investigation was launched into allegations the institutions were involved in cash-for-degrees schemes.
LAU student Hanady Al Ahmadieh saw the problem and wanted to change the situation. She was learning about blockchain and “how it makes data secure and immutable” and consequently got the idea of digitizing papers while simultaneously protecting the data they hold.
She teamed up with Amir Abdel Bakie, CEO of BlocRecs, and presented her idea, which she named BlocRecs, to Smart ESA accelerator in February 2018. She got accepted to the accelerator’s 3rd cycle.
Al Ahmadieh, who is now the COO of BlocRecs, was determined to prove that her idea of storing educational degrees on blockchain to prevent degree fraud was viable. She started taking online courses and watching educational YouTube videos to study “use cases” of blockchain, and she found out that a perfect use case could be the storage of educational certificates and degrees on blockchain.
In a nutshell, BlocRecs allows universities to securely issue their degrees on the blockchain and as a result, students can digitally share their degrees and employers can instantly verify them.
To simplify traditional degree verification, BlocRecs would remove middlemen in the process – a complicated path that involves an applicant, a university database, an employer and a university officer.
BlocRecs instead would collect each student’s “digital footprint”, store it on the blockchain and grant an employer access to their profile, including a validated copy of their degree, in less than a minute.
Additionally, the startup proposes time-stamping a student’s data twice: once on admission to the university and again on graduation. The information would be sent to the ministry once she meets the requirements for graduation. Since blockchain doesn’t allow retroactive entries, anyone looking to game the system would need to do it over a period of years.
Touch is excited to have BlocRecs as one of the startups for TIP’s 3rd cycle. The immediate future looks promising for the company and can reshape education in Lebanon!