Digital certificates are beginning to be tested in Berlin as a new system for school graduates.
The new system is set to roll out in North Rhine-Westphalia, Berlin. The plan is to roll out digital certificates to the first high school graduates as early as the end of June.
Project lead Eric Stange admits that interest in the digital certificates has received promising feedback, saying “The digital version is simple, forgery-proof and complies with data protection regulations.”
The use of paper certificates has become impractical, as students utilize online service more regularly now. Issues such as scanning of paper documents were highlighted as one of the issues. Other issues include the potential to manipulate paper documents or counterfeit them.
The Federal Online Access Act (OZG) looks to implement a digital option for all citizens by the end of 2022. Currently, the system is set to be tested in three federal states, before being rolled out to the entire country.
Stange admits that paper documents will not completely fall away as digital certificates are implemented. He admitted that students could still receive their paper certificates ceremoniously at their graduations.
Benefits of digital certificates
Stange believes digital certificates will offer advantages to students, as it is commonly required of them to certify copies when sending certificates to universities or companies to be checked.
Digital certificates will allow the process of verifying to be dramatically improved. Paper copies will come with a digital copy. The digital copy which will be held on the blockchain, will include a hash value, therefore proving its authenticity to prospective universities and companies.
Currently, over one hundred schools in the Cologne-Aachen area have been offered to take part in the test. Schools will receive software that will integrate into the management system. Schools will then be able to authenticate and secure certificates of students using a “cryptographic chain of numbers.”