Catholic International Education Office


Catholic International Education Office

OIEC (Office International de l’Enseignement Catholique)


OIEC was founded in Lucerne, Switzerland by a group of people who felt it appropriate to establish relations for cooperation in the field of teaching and education. In November 1950, Mgr Frans op de Coul, the head of the Netherlands Catholic Office for Teaching and Education at the time, convened the representatives of the Catholic teaching organisations from six countries in order to establish an operational and liaison Secretariat to strengthen the union between individuals and organisations responsible for Catholic education worldwide. The project took legal shape in 1952 and was recognised by the Holy See in 1956 as a Catholic International Organisation. OIEC is an NGO with consultative status at Ecosoc, UNICEF, the Council of Europe, and has cooperation relations with FAO and the ILO.

OIEC participates in the mission of the Church by promoting a Catholic-inspired educational project, demonstrating within the community of nations the will of the Church to cooperate in every aspect of education; it encourages research into and the study of the specific contribution made by the Catholic school to education, and the ways in which it can meet the needs and the demands of different social and cultural environments; it defends the freedom of education, and it works to ensure that freedom is effectively exercised; it ensures that Catholic education is adequately represented on international bodies. In the pursuit of its objectives, OIEC cooperates with the agencies of the universal Church, the Bishops’ Conferences and other Catholic International Organisations involved in  education.

The supreme governing body of OIEC is the General Assembly which meets every three years, attended by the constituent and the associate members. It elects the Council, which is responsible for implementing the decisions of the Assembly. The permanent executive body is the General Secretariat. At the international level its activities are co-ordinated by five Regional Secretariats for Africa, Asia, America, Europe, and the Near and  Middle East. OIEC members are constituent members, which are organisations recognised as de jure and de facto representatives of Catholic education in different countries; associate members, which are international Religious Congregations engaged in teaching; cooperating members, which are Religious Congregations but without an international spread, and individuals wishing to actively cooperate with the OIEC; and corresponding members.

OIEC has 100 constituent members, 17 associate members, 10 cooperating members, and 7 corresponding members, and is present in 103 countries as follows: Africa (37), Asia (11), Europe (23), Middle East (4), North America (13), Oceania (2), and South America (13).

OIEC promotes and supports primary and secondary literacy projects to combat illiteracy and the dropping out of compulsory schooling, a problem which affects 100 million children in the world according to Unesco; family literacy projects; sharing and peace education programmes. The aim of the Catholic Teaching Social Network project, Admov.ME (, is to network 210.000 schools, as well as 44 million students and around 7 million teachers that will belong to the member associations of the OIEC.

De la réflexion à l’action series; Cahiers O.I.E.C.; Newsletter. All are published in French, English and Spanish.


Office International de l’Enseignement Catholique
718, Avenue Houba de Strooper - 1020 Brussels - Belgium
Tel. [+32]2.2307252 - Fax 2.2309745


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