Role & History

The National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) is established by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference through the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education to maintain effective liaison with the Commonwealth Government and other key national education bodies. NCEC complements and supports at the national level the work of the State and Territory Catholic Education Commissions.

The NCEC has a wide range of objectives set out in its Terms of Reference.

The NCEC was established in 1974, partly in response to the vastly increased activity of the Commonwealth Government in school education policy and funding from the early 1970s, and partly to reflect the Bishops’ wish for a national Catholic education policy forum at which the recently-established State and Territory Catholic Education Commissions could contribute more effectively to the national schooling debate.

The Bishops Commission for Catholic Education appoints members, other than ex officio members, to the NCEC for a four-year period. Members are nominated by State and Territory Catholic Education Commissions from a wide cross-section of people.

The NCEC generally organises a major national Catholic education conference every four years, the last of which was held in Perth in June 2016, as well as biennial meetings of all diocesan Directors of Catholic Education and Directors of Religious Education. For more information see the Conferences page. 

A small Secretariat based in Sydney manages the work of the NCEC. Most of the specific policy expertise at the NCEC’s disposal is located in the larger State/Territory Catholic Education Commission offices.

The NCEC seeks to influence national education policy making by:

  • Working towards a national policy consensus between State and Territory Commissions that best reflects contemporary Catholic teaching on the nature and purpose of education;
  • Acting as an effective contributor to the national education policy debate;
  • Maintaining productive links with key members of the Commonwealth Parliament and the Commonwealth bureaucracy; and by
  • Strengthening the work of the Church in education, and the Catholic identity of Catholic schools and universities.
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