Bringing Transparency to Education Donations with Blockchain-Powered Micro Scholarships
Each year approximately 102.5bn USD is donated for education in the US alone, based on the annual reports by CAE and Giving USA. However, there is little transparency as to how these donations are used by the intermediaries and what impact is achieved. Sponsors have no means of evaluating what difference their contribution has made to the cause they donated for.
This is a problem that can be solved at scale with blockchain technology, potentially leading to more and better funding options for education. BitDegree has launched the first transparent open-source micro scholarship system that may transform the education donations system.
BitDegree Scholarships is the solution that enables tracking how contributions made by sponsors are used in real-time. Moreover, it enables programmatic giving – sponsors can define rules for their contributions (i.e. geography, demographic data, learning subjects, incentives) and control the implementation as it happens. Sponsors’ user experience is similar to that of advertisers running Google ad campaigns.
All of this is possible because of the system that BitDegree has developed for recording educational achievements, where they are inscribed into blockchain as immutable credentials at the most granular level. Blockchain credentials serve as secure and transparent rails on which then decentralized payments can run. Sponsors can issue scholarships, educators get paid for their work, learners can receive sponsored education and financial incentives for motivation. The entire system can scale infinitely because of its decentralized open-source nature, where relationships among parties involved are handled through transparent customizable automatic contracts.
Where previously intermediaries, such as education charities, had to control the education process and its funding, the blockchain system can do the same automatically at a much lower cost. In fact, the complexity of the donation system can be increased, enabling for the first-time ever money to be sent directly to the learners’ wallets without going through intermediaries. This enables new types of micro scholarships that not only cover the cost of education but also provide direct grants to learners that cover the opportunity costs of learning or simply motivate them to learn.
Due to direct and nearly costless immediate cryptocurrency-based transactions, global peer-to-peer micro donations for education are now possible. The solution also enables sponsors to implement targeted education funding for a new market that was previously underserved due to the complexity of reaching and motivating it.
Micro scholarships are currently available for online learning on the BitDegree platform as a showcase, and other offline and online education vendors and charities are welcome to join. In BitDegree’s implementation of the system, motivated learners from around the world can ask for a micro scholarship to cover the course cost and compensate for their time spent while learning as an incentive. Such micro scholarship setup was chosen to highlight the demand for subsistence grants in addition to just covering the cost of education and to demonstrate the need for the grant by providing personal stories from around the world justifying it.
The following scholarship application excerpt from a learner in India illustrates it well: “I am a second-year computer science student aiming to become an Android developer. But I am not really able to support my education financially. My father's income is just not enough to fulfill the basic needs of our household. Honestly, I cannot spend more than $2-$5 per month on this [Android development] course. Me and my family are already having a hard time paying my college fees.”
Financial incentives as grants for learning are important because learners in developing countries and even the developed ones often have to choose between skipping low-paid work that provides necessary income and learning, putting their families wellbeing at risk. These incentives also serve as a great motivator to finish courses and continue to learn further, signaling that the skills gained are valuable for the global job market, leading to better employment opportunities. Due to abundant employment opportunities BitDegree today focuses on courses and learning paths to employment-related to digital skills so that the learners can join the global digital labor force and work from wherever they are.
Learners can already apply for a BitDegree micro scholarship as a way to gain monetary rewards for completing online courses. Their applications will be reviewed and verified by the BitDegree team before being published on the platform. Once a learner’s request is accepted, they will be listed on the platform and become visible for potential sponsors to fund. And sponsors get a transparent way of tracking how funds are allocated towards the learners’ education.
In the current version of the BitDegree Scholarships solution, sponsors can choose which learners to sponsor in a go-fund-me style. Learners provide their stories, motivation, and request for pre-defined micro scholarships, which are made adequate to the learning effort and the income level in the geography of the applicant. The idea of online micro scholarships is genuinely revolutionary and can positively change the current status of education due to transparency and massive accessibility all around the world.
Start making a change by sponsoring students here: https://www.bitdegree.org/sponsor
Apply for BitDegree scholarships here: https://www.bitdegree.org/certificates/scholarships/apply
BitDegree is the world’s first blockchain-powered, smart-incentives based online education platform that aims to revolutionize global education and tech recruiting. The primary purpose of the BitDegree platform is to let students acquire skills that are currently demanded in the labor market. BitDegree offers users the best online courses with a transparent and clear blockchain-based achievement tracking and reward system.
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