First in Indonesia, ITB Issues Digital Diplomas with Certified Digital Signatures

By Adi Permana

Editor -

Prof. Jaka Sembiring


BANDUNG, itb.ac.id – Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) began implementing the policy of using digital certificate with certified digital signature. The policy will be applied first to ITB graduates who are supposed to be undergoing the second graduation of 2019/2020 academic year but it is hampered because of the Covid-19 pandemic phenomenon in Indonesia. The decision regarding this digital certificate was actually aligned with the spirit of transformation carried by the new Rector and was one of the previous ITB plans as a form of campus participation in the 4.0 Industrial Revolution. So, given the need for fast and precise response due to the pandemic, with no procrastination, ITB is finally convinced to introduce the use of digital certificate.

Through this decision, ITB will become the first university in Indonesia to publish digital certificate with certified digital signature. The policy applies to all ITB graduates including undergraduate, master, doctoral, and professional degree. It is as stipulated in the Act of Rector of the Institute of Technology Bandung No. 145A/IT1.A/SI.13/2020 concerning electronic information, electronic documents, and electronic transactions in Institut Teknologi Bandung.

In guaranteeing the validity and security of the published digital certificate, ITB uses the standard PAdES (PDF Advance Electronic Signature) in its application. By using these standards, a digital certificate will be cryptographically-secured with an electronic certificate issued by an electronic certificate organizer who has been certified by the Ministry of Communication and Information (Menkominfo) pursuant to Decree (Surat Keputusan/SK) No. 790/2019. Therefore, the contents of the published digital certificate will not be able to be changed. Because, if there is a change in the contents of the diploma after being signed by the Dean and Rector of ITB, then the diploma will not pass the verification of PDF reader.

The Vice Rector of Academic and Student Affairs of ITB, Prof. Dr. Ir. Jaka Sembiring, M.Eng., said, there are at least two reasons of the use of digital certificate. Firstly, a digital certificate, using a well-encrypted digital signature, has much better level of security against possible counterfeiting or changes in certificates and transcripts. Then, secondly, the process of making diplomas and transcript will be more efficient because it no longer needs wet signatures from the Rector, Dean, Head of Study Program, as well as the student. "All can be done with only 'a click'. The validity of diplomas and transcripts can be checked directly by interested parties without having to go through a long process but simply use a freely downloadable PDF reader application," he explained.

Based on Prof. Jaka's explanation, the use of the digital diploma which will be published by ITB is still in accordance with the Research, Technology, and Higher Education Ministerial Regulation No. 59/2018 on Diploma, Competency Certification, Professional Certification, Degree, and Procedure of Writing a Degree in Higher Education and based on Act No. 11/2008 concerning Information and Electronic Transaction in conjuction with Act No. 19 /2016 on Amendment to Law No. 11/2008 on Information and Electronic Transaction and Government Regulation No. 82/2012 on Electronic Transaction and System Implementation.

In succeeding this policy, ITB cooperates with the Electronic Certificate Organizers (PSrE) (inaugurated by the Menkominfo on September 13, 2019) that can hold certified digital signatures for preparing a certificate document (physical or digital). Electronic documents issued by ITB remain signed by the Dean and Rector of ITB before being awarded to ITB graduates. The data on the certificate cannot be changed by anyone without damaging the "seal"/signature that has been attached to a digital diploma (PDF). Essentially, with the help of the certified institution, a digital certificate signed by the Dean and Rector of ITB will be sealed/marked first before being given to the graduates. This is done so that if anyone intends to change the contents or falsify the diploma will be immediately caught due to damage from the seal/mark. "The authenticity of diplomas can be verified directly by the public just by opening the document using a PDF reader (especially using the digital signature feature)," said Prof. Jaka.

Then, in addition to using PDF reader, the public or interested parties can also check the authenticity of the ITB graduate certificates via this page:  https://akademik.itb.ac.id/alumni. "In general, the design will remain similar to the previous certificate, only without a wet signature, but a digital signature and a link (URL) for alumni verification, as well as other information needed," he added.

Another advantage of using a digital diploma is that students no longer need to legalize their documents. The recipient of the digital diploma electronic document can verify and authenticate the document online or offline directly (using the URL placed on the diploma or using digital signature feature on PDF reader apps).  Even so, if there are parties who still need to be legalized with a wet stamp and signature, ITB will still facilitate it.

Realizing that this was a new technology in Indonesia, Prof. Jaka stated that ITB will continue to conduct various socialization related to the application of this digital diploma policy to the public/community in a number of ways. That way, he hopes, the public can immediately understand that the verification and authentication of ITB graduate diplomas since the April 2020 Graduation can be done both online and offline. "In addition, ITB digital diplomas will still be issued in two forms, paper-based and PDF file," he explained.

Prof. Jaka ensured that digital certificate with encrypted mark/seal/siganture is legally strong and safe from counterfeiting and alteration so that the public or ITB graduates do not need to worry about this policy. "If there are parties who are skeptical about the authenticity of a diploma, then they can contact the Directorate of Education of ITB’s Office or conduct verification and authentication online through the ITB academic system https://akademik.itb.ac.id/alumni," he added.

Prof. Jaka also stated that it was not only ITB who issued this kind of policy, but also a number of other universities, including Brown University from USA, University of Bergen from Norway, Carnegie Mellon University, Stanford University, and others.

For further information related to graduation administration for ITB Graduates, please contact this email address: infoakad@akademik.itb.ac.id.

Updated : FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about the Digital Certificate: https://www.itb.ac.id/ijazah-digital

Translator: Ferio Brahmana