Founded in 1952 in Lucerne (Switzerland) the Catholic International Education Office (OIEC) is a non-governmental organisation representing world-wide Catholic education as an NGO. OIEC's mission includes the promotion of education for all, collaboration within academic communities and the fight against illiteracy worldwide.
In support of their on-going mission, the Catholic International Education Office has signed an agreement with Microsoft to provide Office 365 for its community of Catholic schools across the world. Office 365 will be part of a new social network for Catholic schools called Social Network of Catholic Education, which Microsoft is to design, based on its Azure Cloud platform. The project will begin with the provision of software for 4.5 million students but in time, is expected to scale across OIEC's community of more than 43 million Catholic students at 210,000 schools in 102 countries.
The new network is expected to provide innovative software, services, training and access to technologies to help prepare students for the jobs of the future. According to an IDC study, over 50 per cent of today's jobs require technology skills. By 2015, this is expected to increase to 90 per cent. Using industry technology in a school environment will better prepare students and be a distinct advantage when they enter the job market. Using Office 365 for education, OIEC students and educators will be able to:
- Collaborate across the globe to work together on projects in real time by creating class and group sites, that allow users to view the availability of others
- Collaborate on projects and assignments using the same tools (Microsoft Office suite) to view, edit, and share documents, spreadsheets and presentations
- Collaborate using instant messaging and videoconferencing,
- Take part in virtual classes and transform any conversation to include high-resolution video, application and desktop sharing
- Share calendars and access mail and calendars across devices securely
- Create and maintain websites and edit them using the Office 365 tools
In addition, OIEC's community of schools will receive subscriptions for Microsoft Learning Suite, which includes a variety of tools and services that enable educators and students to create, conduct research, study, collaborate and teach.
"In alliance with Microsoft, we are entering a new era in global Catholic education," said F. Angel Astorgano, general secretary, OIEC. "We will offer the most advanced technology, knowledge and skills to our schools so our next generation of graduates is prepared for the new challenges of the 21st century."