The University of Johannesburg (UJ) reportedly plans to start issuing degrees and certificates with blockchain security features to avoid fraud.

According to Broad Media, the certificates will help stop counterfeiting and avoid the fraudulent representation of qualifications. UJ is one of the first universities to start offering digital certificates to its students to make it easier for them to recover lost certificates and share them with third parties such as potential employers.

The South African university will start including blockchain security features on its digital certificates in 2022, according to reports.

“The new blockchain-based certificate features will enhance the security of certificates even more. Certificates issued from this year on will have QR codes printed on them, which anybody can scan with a smartphone to verify whether the information on the certificate is correct and has been issued legitimately by UJ,” said Dr. Tinus Van Zyl, senior director of Central Academic Administration at UJ.

Dr. Van Zyl said that the public will now be able to validate UJ qualifications without having to contact the institution — by just scanning the QR code on the certificate at no cost.

UJ’s registrar, Prof Kinta Burger said that the new blockchain-based certificates will not only protect the University’s certificates from fraud but also preserve the reputation of the institution and the integrity of qualifications.

“UJ is committed to applying new technologies to improve systems and service delivery. This continuous improvement strategy and use of cutting-edge technology, facilitated through the Fourth Industrial Revolution are at the heart of our philosophy,” she said.

These certificates will also make it easier for hiring managers to run background checks on potential employees — confirm that the qualifications they list on their CVs are indeed valid as many people tend to put false qualifications out of desperation for employment.

By Zintle Nkohla 

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