by Lumai Mubanga
In some developing countries, the award of scholarships to needy sections of society is not done transparently and fairly. In most cases, selections of recipients are shroud in secrecy and nepotism. The rightful recipients are usually sidelined in preference to those close to influential and powerful people. How can blockchain be applied in such situations to bring fairness and transparency in the whole selection and award process?
How present systems work
Presently, governments have set aside money to support the vulnerable in society. These ones are the rightful recipients of scholarship funds. As an example, many children who come from poor families or are double orphans are given priority to access the funds as long as they qualify from secondary school to university with good grades. The selection criteria are based on two factors. Vulnerability and good grades or points. Thus, a child needs to be vulnerable in terms of inability to pay for university education and excellent grades at secondary or high school level.
These funds are managed by scholarship boards that undertake the selection of recipients based on these two criteria mentioned above. Once the scholarship board verifies each applicant against these criteria, the selected applicant are granted scholarships ranging from 50% to 100% as the case may be.
However, the system favors children who are already coming from wealthy families especially politically influential individuals. In some cases, the scholarship boards receive names to be included. This disadvantage those who are intellectually capable but financially incapable. This is where blockchain comes in.
While current systems have capabilities to keep data and pull records of such undertakings, they centralized. This makes it possible for those who manage the systems to hide information. Thus, you cannot tell whether the selected recipients deserve it or not. Secondly, current systems are prone to human intervention. However, blockchain smart contracts will work independently, based on inputted data to make the right choices. The advantage is that blockchain will be transparent and fair. How can this be done?
Step by step implementation
From the time of enrolment into primary school, every child will have all information captured on blockchain. The critical data being financial capabilities of sponsors among others. Along the way, this information will be updated, for example, when the sponsor dies. These factors will allow smart contracts to isolate potential scholarship recipients. Along the way, all academic results in secondary school will be recorded and ranked among those classified as potential recipients. By the time, students write final secondary exit examination, all this data will be available for the selection process.
Blockchain selection process
The smart contracts will then select possible recipients based on the two criteria i.e. vulnerability and intellectual capabilities based on academic performance. The beauty of this blockchain-based system is that everyone will be able to see who is selected and based on those and other criteria that may be imposed. Secondly, the system is completely free of human interference.
Thus, transparency and fairness will be upheld.