Launch of verifiable credentials in DEQAR

EQAR has recently launched a newly-built feature to automatically issue Verifiable Credentials based on the quality assurance data available in DEQAR. They serve as a digitally-signed and tamper-proof label and can further be used to confirm an institution’s official accreditation in the EBSI ecosystem. Making accreditation credentials available automatically, EQAR supports the adoption of digital diplomas by European higher education institutions.

What are Verifiable Credentials (VCs)?

Verifiable Credentials (VCs) are an open standard for digital credentials. They can represent information found in physical credentials, such as a passport or a diploma, as well as new things that have no physical equivalent, such as ownership of a bank account. They have numerous advantages over physical credentials, most notably that they are digitally signed, which makes them tamper-resistant and instantaneously verifiable.

How do they relate to quality assurance?

While a degree is a credential issued by a higher education institution to a student, the result of a quality assurance or accreditation process can be regarded as a credential issued to the institution. EQAR has been exploring the presentation of DEQAR data on external quality assurance and accreditation in the form of VCs primarily as part of the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) Early Adopters Programme.

A Verifiable Accreditation (VA) is a specific type of VC to demonstrate an institution’s accreditation in the EBSI ecosystem. In close dialogue with the EBSI architects and the convenors of the Diplomas Use Case, EQAR has developed an extension to DEQAR that automatically makes available Verifiable Accreditations for all official external quality assurance and accreditation results.

Who will use VCs and why?

Generic DEQAR Verifiable Credentials can be used by all higher education institutions whenever they need digitally-signed and tamper-proof evidence of their external quality assurance being aligned with the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG). VCs can be downloaded from every single report record in DEQAR.

EBSI-compliant Verifiable Accreditations can be used by higher education institutions planning to join the EBSI ecosystem. Institutions can register their VA on the Trusted Issuers Registry (TIR) and thereby demonstrate their authorisation to issue education diplomas. Find out more here.