Johannesburg – The University of Johannesburg (UJ) is the first South African institution to enhance the security of its certificates by adding blockchain-based security features to it.
This comes as the tertiary education institution has recognised the need for universities to continuously increase their security features.
Dr Tinus van Zyl, senior director of Central Academic Administration at UJ, explained that this is related to the certification processes, as well as to prevent certificate fraud and counterfeiting, and to avoid fraudulent representation of qualifications.
He explained that the university was the first South African institution to offer its graduates digital certificates back in 2019.
This virtual qualification verification system enables its graduates to access their qualifications digitally.
“The digital certificate system, which was introduced a while back for our graduates, gave graduates access to their certificates digitally and assisted in securely sharing these certificates with third parties or prospective employers, at no cost,” Van Zyl said.
The new blockchain-based certificate features will enhance the security of certificates even more, he added.
“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.
“The public is now able to validate the awarded qualifications for UJ graduates without having to contact the university or having to go through a verification agency, just by scanning the QR code on the certificate and best of all, at no cost,” said Van Zyl.
Meanwhile, UJ’s registrar, Professor Kinta Burger, is also enthusiastic about UJ implementing blockchain-based certificates for its graduates.
“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,” said Burger.
She said that 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.”