Forward Protocol Decentralized Education (DeEd) Whitepaper
by Karnika E. Yashwant (Mr. KEY) and Mitch Rankin

Reforming and Redefining Education

Changing How the World Learns

Introduction

Former president of the United States, Lyndon Johnson, famously said, “At the desk where I sit in, I have learned one great truth: The answer for all of our national problems, the answer for all the problems of the world, comes down, when you really analyze it, to one single word - EDUCATION.”
More than a billion people in the world still do not have access to the information and solutions that are freely available to change the quality of their lives at a local level. They lack the knowledge to solve real-life problems that are inherent in their communities.
There are two major issues:
  1. 1.
    Education is not democratized.
  2. 2.
    The information that is available online to solve many problems at a local level - perennial issues like climate change, agricultural issues, energy issues, financial issues, business problems, HIV education, literacy, math, sciences, etc. - is not accessible. It could be caused by inadequate technology, methodologies, or poorly trained experts.
Forward Protocol aims to democratize education and change how the world learns by reforming and redefining the existing education and learning model with blockchain technology. This goal is achievable through a framework that incentivizes knowledge transfer between experts and learners in a qualitative model.

What is the democratization of education?

The Pedagogical encyclopedia (1989) defines the democratization of education as follows: A process in the world, in certain countries and areas in which the inherited class and other restrictions in exercising the right to education are avoided, ways in which its mass use is opened at all levels. It enhances the wide social influence in politics, financing, planning, and the practice of education of the population. This is done by the expansion of the network and improvement of financing, the reduction of the impact of the state bodies, the decentralization or in other words by the distribution of decision-making at different levels. This means inclusion of the educator and other employees, parents, learners, and representatives of the various social structures, direct management i.e. self-management in schools and other educational organizations and at other levels and modernization of the learning process with greater participation of the learner.

Why is this important?

Creating a conducive environment that inspires passion and interest is an integral part of the education process and is vital for students to learn. Students in many countries of the world are stuck in environments with archaic educational structures and systems that limit their access to the knowledge they need to progress at the same pace as their counterparts in other parts of the world. Coupled with poorly trained and unmotivated teachers, the result is a substandard education with inadequate knowledge transfer. Forward Protocol will provide the underlying framework for an incentivized “earn as you learn” protocol that applications and organizations around the world can use to connect learners from countries with inadequate educational resources to the best educators in the world.
Many people argue that education is the ultimate socioeconomic equalizer, and it is a sentiment shared by politicians, journalists, and anyone that had the privilege of a good teacher. They agree that a good education will provide one with the professional opportunities necessary to overcome social inequality, eliminate poverty and elevate human achievement.

If this is true, we need to answer the following questions:

  • How can learners without access to the right experts learn and compete in the global marketplace against people with access to these resources?
  • How can learners with poorly trained experts be expected to perform at the same level as their counterparts in parts of the world where the educators are of superior quality, and world-class industry experts are accessible?
Forward Protocol will provide the framework to help connect experts and learners, teachers and students, by facilitating knowledge transfer through a value protocol driven by an incentivized reward system.

What does Forward Protocol provide?

Forward Protocol provides the blockchain solution that tracks value transfer, which is an essential commodity in the EdTech sector. Forward Protocol’s modular architecture and ready-to-deploy fully customizable smart contracts are designed to help any learning platform adopt blockchain technology seamlessly. DeEd (Decentralized Education) creates infinite possibilities, changing how the world learns. The protocol's “earn as you learn” model works by rewarding participation and excellence, motivating learners to learn new skills or knowledge, while earning tokens.
The protocol’s modular design enables any organization or application in the education space to explore the modules they need to optimize their platform’s functionality. Forward Protocol sets the stage for Decentralized Education (DeEd), while the deploying organizations set the parameters.
This reward system in Forward Protocol is validated and executed by various smart contracts built to moderate, motivate and reward participants on the protocol.
Forward Protocol validates and rewards knowledge transfer between experts and learners. It creates a level playing field while incentivizing the qualitative transfer of knowledge.
Forward Protocol will be decentralized, maintaining independence from any third-party influence. It guarantees its independent status through a system of smart contracts, community-driven governance (DAO), and an open ecosystem.
Forward Protocol serves as a trusted, transparent, and valid intermediary between parties in the learning space that validates knowledge transfer in one or both directions.
Forward Protocol will not be part of the content creation process. It will only provide the framework that learning applications and educational institutions can build on.

What is the relevance of Forward Protocol for Education?

The COVID pandemic highlighted a painfully obvious truth about the inequality of education globally. It is a dire situation with an ever-widening gap between the learners able to access experts and the ones that cannot.
There are many active initiatives deployed worldwide to resolve the challenge of creating access for the 50% of the world population without access to the internet or the technology they need. A notable project is gigaconnect.org, an initiative launched by UNICEF and ITU in September 2019 to connect every school to the Internet and every young person to information, opportunity and choice. This initiative is funded by the Musk Foundation and many other parties.
After these hubs are connected to the internet, they still need a system to connect their learners to experts who can deliver effective world-class education and knowledge transfer. Forward Protocol promotes a framework that links experts from around the world to these learners. In essence, Forward Protocol is the software update to the hardware being implemented.

UNESCO’s goal

UNESCO's Sustainable Development Goal #4 (SDG4) aims for all girls and boys to get free, equitable, and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes. However, a few questions need to be answered to meet their 2030 goal:
  • Is the current education system equipped to resolve this challenge?
  • Is the current education system able to eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including those with disabilities, indigent people, and children in disadvantaged situations? This inclusion and equity mean that all people irrespective of sex, age, race, color, ethnicity, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property or birth, as well as people with disabilities, migrants, indigent people, and children and youth, especially those in vulnerable situations, should have access to inclusive, equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities.
  • If not, is an alternative system available?
  • What incentive could facilitate the change needed to solve these problems?
Forward Protocol will provide the possibility of a digital education facilitated by experts to support the transfer of knowledge needed to achieve this goal.