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Graduate students (Representational picture) Pixabay

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung announced on Friday that as a part of the national-level initiative called OpenCerts, starting from this year, all the graduates from local schools, including secondary and junior schools, as well as tertiary institutions, will receive digital certificates.

As already reported, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), Government Technology Agency (GovTech), the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) are the institutions behind the move to develop the blockchain-based platform, OpenCerts. This is first-time such technology is being used at the national level.

The developers of this platform said in a statement that OpenCerts offers an "easy and reliable way" to issue certificates which are tamper-resistant.

Such change in providing degree certificates is expected to help the graduates with N-, O- or A-Level certificates, students from the Institute of Technical Education and the candidates graduating from autonomous universities, polytechnics, LASALLE College of the Arts, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and the National Institute of Early Childhood Development.

Students, graduating from Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ), will also receive a digital certificate, which will include a unique cryptographic proof embedded for secure verification.

Graduating students will receive the certificates via email. Once they receive the certificate, it will be automatically added to the Skills Passports of individual MySkillsFuture accounts.

This change will also smoothen the process of verification for employers while checking the details of a candidate's certificate directly through the OpenCerts online platform, OpenCerts.io. The digital certification process is expected to simplify and reduce administrative work as well as the paperwork for employers.

In 2018, GovTech and NP took the initiative on a pilot basis when the batch of NP's last year's graduates first received these certificates.

Patrice Choong, the Director of NP's Sandbox - Innovation and Entrepreneurship Office mentioned that they issue almost 10,000 physical, certified true copies of certificates every year and all of those needs to be printed and stamped. He said their office receives 2,000 verification requests from employers as well as other schools on an average and it requires manual work.

As per Choong, the new system removes two major issues, which are providing physical, certified-true copies and the verification requests.

Singapore University of Social Sciences had earlier said that the process takes at least three days to process a request for verification from start to finish. He also mentioned that the new digital certification process is a time saviour.

However, there are some plans, which are under process, to create a digital version of the certificates for those who have already graduated from their respective schools.

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