Sony Global Education is teaming up with Fujitsu Limited and Fujitsu Research Institute to conduct field trials to assess the usefulness of blockchains for securing students' academic data.
According to a press release from Fujitsu Limited, the three companies have started to test blockchain technology's potential to manage "course records and grade data" in relation to a language proficiency test given to prospective students that want to study in Japan.
In this experiment, students who wish to pursue an education in Japan will take a course called the "Nihongo Dojo," which is designed to help students prepare for the Japanese language proficiency test. The course will be available on the Fujitsu's Fisdom digital learning platform, and the students' study logs, grade information, and conversational ability scores will be stored and managed on a Hyperledger Fabric blockchain platform.
This trial, according to a press release from Sony, is intended to help the Human Academy – an institution that facilitates study abroad in Japan – better assess the language skills of potential students. The technology will enable the Human Academy to compare the academic records provided by students to the data stored on the blockchain platform.
According to Sony, this trial was developed in response to an influx of foreign workers and students coming to Japan in recent years. With revisions to the Immigration Control Act set to come into effect in April of 2019, Japan expects the number of foreign workers and students in the country to grow even more.
To be granted a Japanese student or work visa, foreigners are required to submit the results of Japanese language courses, which are taken prior to entering the country. However, the legitimacy of this data is often hard to confirm. As a result, some workers and students are placed in the wrong classes or roles. Sony and Fujitsu hope that this experiment will help validate these records and make the issuance of student and worker visas more accurate.
Going forward, the three organizations plan to develop a "multifaceted analysis of collected study logs and grade information" to collect data pertaining to students' attitudes about education and their study habits.
Both Fujitsu and Sony have been active in spurring the adoption of blockchain technology. In March 2018, Fujitsu announced it was developing a blockchain research and development center in Brussels, Belgium, to explore "next generation" use cases. In October 2018, Sony announced it was developing a blockchain platform for authenticating educational data.