In Summary
  • Universities still issue certificate manually in the exact way it was done a thousand years ago.
  • These manual documents always look nice and authoritative but they can easily be minted from tricksters based at our not so famous Nairobi River Road.
  • Several certificate printing mills have been busted over the years from River Road but their ability to imitate degrees from globally-famous universities remain.
  • It is perhaps high time we redesigned our certificate issuance system across all levels of learning.

We are approaching twenty years into the new millennium, the so-called digital millennium, and yet one area of our lives remains extremely stuck in the analogue age.

The way universities and colleges issue certificates for their various degree awards is still as manual as it were a thousand years ago when the first university was created.

The traditional way of issuing certificates remains the analogue, by way of collecting a hard copy that is signed by both the vice chancellor and the academic registrar - and appended with a seal from the university registrar’s office.

These manual documents always look nice and authoritative. However the truth of the matter is that they can easily be minted from tricksters based at our not so famous Nairobi River Road.

Several certificate printing mills have been busted over the years from River Road but their ability to imitate degrees from globally-famous universities remains, complete with graduation gowns and pictures. This assures them of continuous business.

A prospective employer would not be able to differentiate between a PhD certificate from the real Oxford University and the fake one from this notorious street.

Indeed they must do due diligence by getting in touch with Oxford University in the UK, but the verification process is time consuming and fraught with data protection procedures.

Easier and more efficient

Clearly there must be an easier and more efficient way for those issuing certificates (universities), those receiving the certificates (graduates) and those verifying the certificates (employers) to collaborate and achieve their objectives in a digital framework.

Blockchain technology is simply an immutable digital infrastructure that keeps a record of history. That history may be money (e.g. Bitcoin), it could be land transactions or any other event of interest that requires enhanced integrity.

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