First national-level initiative to facilitate authentication of digital certificates in Singapore
Starting from this year, all graduates will receive digital certificates for (i) N, O and A Levels, (ii) ITE qualifications, (iii) diploma and degree qualifications from polytechnics, LASALLE College of the Arts (LASALLE), Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), Autonomous Universities (AUs) and the National Institute of Early Childhood Development (NIEC), as well as (iv) Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ). These digital certificates will be stored in the Skills Passports of their individual MySkillsFuture accounts. When they use these certificates for job applications, employers will be able to quickly and easily verify these digital certificates through OpenCerts (opencerts.io). This was announced by Minister for Education, Ong Ye Kung, at Temasek Polytechnic’s Graduation Ceremony this morning.
Jointly developed by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), Government Technology Agency (GovTech), Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), and the Ministry of Education (MOE), OpenCerts is an initiative in support of Smart Nation, to develop deep tech solutions benefiting Singaporeans. Please refer to Annex A for a list of the 18 institutions and agencies onboard Project OpenCerts. This is the first time blockchain technology has been harnessed for use at the national level, and it was first piloted in 2018 by GovTech and NP, to develop and trial the use of blockchain technology for secure and reliable digital certificate verification. The first batch of digital certificates was issued to NP’s graduating cohort last year.
With OpenCerts, individuals will receive digital certificates which will each have a unique cryptographic proof embedded within for secure verification. They will no longer need to obtain certified true copies of their education and training certificates for job and academic admission applications. Individuals can instead provide potential employers with digital certificates issued by these institutions. These digital certificates can be easily verified by employers directly through the OpenCerts platform (opencerts.io), which will check the certificate data against its code on the blockchain for validity and to detect any signs of tampering. This automatic verification will simplify and reduce administrative processes and physical paperwork for employers. Local educational institutions will also save time and costs by not having to manually verify issued certificates from individuals. Annex B includes more information about the digital certificates and how they work.
Upon completing and graduating from participating institutions and schools, learners and students will have their issued digital certificates automatically populated onto their Skills Passport, which is available on both the MySkillsFuture Portal and Mobile App, when the students graduate and their certificates have been issued by the schools. The Skills Passport will serve as a single digital repository for education and training certificates. It enables all Singaporeans to track their current skillsets and plan for future skills development.
“With OpenCerts and the Skills Passport, individuals will be able to securely and conveniently store and manage their education and training certificates on a single platform. It is particularly useful in helping them review their current skillsets, and plan for future skills upgrading. Employers will also have a reliable source to verify certificates submitted by candidates and employees. This is an important milestone for SSG and our partners as we continue to enable Singaporeans to take personal ownership of their skills development,” said Mr Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive, SSG.
“OpenCerts is another example of how the Government is harnessing technology to deliver secure and easy-to-use digital services for citizens and businesses. We see enormous potential for deploying the OpenCerts technology to develop secure and reliable certificate verification and issuance regimes in other sectors. We look forward to collaborating with industry and government agencies to develop further use-cases,” said Mr Kok Ping Soon, Chief Executive, GovTech.
“When we first piloted the use of blockchain for digital certificates as part of NP’s smart campus initiative, this technology in the education space was still relatively new and unexplored. We are privileged to have played a pivotal role in turning this ground-up initiative into a national project. We are excited that our pilot has been a catalyst for the education sector as a whole to leverage this technology to improve work processes and make life easier for citizens,” said Mr Clarence Ti, Principal, Ngee Ann Polytechnic.