On Thursday (February 21st), the Maltese government signed a contract with blockchain startup Learning Machine so that within the next two years all educational certificates will be stored on blockchain.
This is how the Prime Minister of Malta announced the news on Twitter:
#Malta is now the first nation worldwide to roll out all its #education certificates and credentials on #blockchain -JM @EvaristBartolo @SilvioSchembri @clifton_grima @edukazzjoni @LearningMach1 pic.twitter.com/XqPrvkBMoH— Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM) February 21, 2019
According to a report in MaltaToday, Learning Machine was asked to extend a pilot project called "Blockcerts" that was started for this purpose in September 2017. Although so far certificates from some educational institutions, such as Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) and Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS) have been put on the blockchain, the aim of this new two-year contract is to ensure that "all education certificates will be issued on blockchain, including secondary school certificates issued by State, church and independent schools."
Joseph Muscat, the Prime Minister of Malta, praised this project during the signing ceremony at Castille (the office of the Prime Minister, which is located in Valletta, the capital of Malta):
“In 2017, we said Malta will become the blockchain island, and it has."
He added that "the project helped minimise bureaucracy and provided greater security for students’ private data."
Natalie Smolenski, Senior Vice President for Business Development and Anthropologist at Learning Machine, told Television Malta (TVM), the national television station of Malta:
“Now you have them in a digital format and you can take them anywhere in the world, share them with anyone you want and verify them instantly for free”
According to TVM, Digital Economy Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri stated that the University of Malta would introduce blockchain technology to some of its courses from October:
"Law courses, ICT, engineering and related subjects will be changed and have credits focused on blockchain; therefore this means we will have lawyers who may specialize also in this industry – accountants, auditors, ICT officials, programmers."
Also, per the TVM report, Malta's Education Minister, Evarist Bartolo, said that "the Government is showing the world that Malta not only dreams great things but implements great things," and that it "wants to be a catalyst and an example to other countries which are still skeptical on the use of new tools."