Supported by the CEF eID Building Block, MyAcademicID (MyAID) aims to bridge existing digital infrastructure gaps among higher education students across Member States.
The goal is to put forward a unique European Student Identifier (ESI). Students will then register at their universities and apply online for student mobility by using a single set of credentials compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation. This will allow students to access public services in any Member State, promoting student mobility and cooperation across Europe.
As of 2019, some 330,000 students in Europe took part in Erasmus, the EU's flagship student exchange programme underway since 1987. With this considerable student population comes much paperwork - from prior agreements between educational institutions and student transcripts to students' certificates for their academic achievements. The challenge is that European higher education institutions run different IT systems, making interoperability difficult.
Interoperability and the student experience
Supported by a CEF Telecom grant (Connecting Europe Facility), MyAID brings together the eIDAS, eduGAIN, and Erasmus Without Paper networks to create a digital environment that supports the secure and seamless exchange of data related to student mobility between higher education institutions and service providers in Europe. Established in 2014, eIDAS (electronic identification, authentication, and trust Services) is an EU regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the European Single Market. The establishment of bridges between existing ID authentication systems and the eIDAS inevitably creates a digital ecosystem of interoperability and harmonisation.
Accessing public services with the CEF eID Building Block
The key to implementing the MyAID initiative was the CEF eID Building Block. By connecting MyAID with eIDAS, the eID Building Block grants students simplified mobility experience and access to services anywhere in Europe.
"We wanted to connect the academic federations of identities with the eIDAS," Joachim Wyssling, MyAcademicID's project coordinator, told CEF. "We wanted the user to seamlessly log onto a system through eIDAS, or as a student using his or her student account."
Four e-services integrate the resulting European Student eID scheme to test its effectiveness: the Online Learning Agreement, the Erasmus Dashboard, the Erasmus+ Mobile App, and the Ph.D. Hub Platform.
When conceptualising the MyAcademicID project, Mr. Wyssling and his team knew they had in the eID Building Block a digital tool capable of answering their needs.
"MyAID is a solution for enabling this Once Only Principle, meaning you authenticate your personal data by either using your eIDAS credentials or your educational credentials," said Mr. Wyssling. "In this context, we tried to focus on interoperability between universities in different Member States, but also on the student experience."
eID and its role in promoting digital inclusiveness
MyAID means students will have a unique and secure student eID, which they can use to identify themselves to verify their status through a single sign-on. This is particularly useful when accessing electronic services, such as the Erasmus+ Mobile App and the Online Learning Agreement.
The project's scalability and the potential for integration of the European Student eID with many other student services pave the way for seamless student mobility and cohesiveness throughout Europe. It also makes MyAID a key component of the European Student Card Initiative, spearheaded by the European Commission. However, all Member States need to be on board for it to work.
"Digitisation processes are always unequal," said Mr Wyssling. "We need to make sure that whatever we design is inclusive from start to finish so that we don't leave out Member States and higher education institutions."
How can CEF help you?
At the Connecting Europe Facility, we give you access to free tools, support, and funding to build your digital services. Here are some of the other Building Blocks you might be interested in.
Supports EU-wide cross-border public services using blockchain technology
Facilitates the preservation, migration, reuse, and trust of your information
Exchanges data and documents securely and reliably.
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