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Professor RAO, Nirmala

Personal Particulars

Professor RAO, Nirmala

劉麗薇

B.A. (Bangalore), M.S. (Tulane), Ph.D. (Tulane)

Serena H.C. Yang Professor in Early Childhood Development and Education

Developmental and Chartered (Educational) Psychologist,

Division of Learning, Development and Diversity

Tel: (852) 3917 7604

Location: Room 510, Meng Wah Complex

Areas of Expertise:

Early Childhood Development and Education; Child Development and Educational Policy; Developmental and Educational Psychology; Culture and Pedagogy

Areas of Expertise

Teaching Areas:
Early Childhood Development; Early Childhood Education; Gender Issues

Research Interests:
Early childhood development and education; Child development and Educational Policy; Developmental and Educational Psychology; Culture and Pedagogy

 

Google Scholar

Awards
  • Best of UNICEF Research award 2015 - Validation, Finalization and Adoption of the East Asia-Pacific Early Child Development Scales (EAP-ECDS) 
  • Eminent Visiting Professor 2014 - Universiti Brunei Darussalam 
  • Endowed Professorship 2013 - Serena HC Yang Professorship in Early Childhood Development and Education
  • Faculty Research Output Prize 2012 
  • Faculty Outstanding Research Supervisor Award 2010
Projects
Principal investigator (PI)
  1. Early childhood development, preschool quality, school readiness and early achievement: A longitudinal study in Ching. RGC (GRF granted in Jun 2017) 
  2. Assessing early childhood development and learning: the first step to building human capital in one belt one road countries. RGC (HSSPFS granted in June2017) 
  3. Provision of consultancy services to study on the effectiveness of the provision of quality kindergarten education in Hong Kong under the free quality kindergarten education policy. Education Bureau (Awarded in Apr 2017) 
  4. Reaching expert consensus on training different cadres in delivering early childhood development at scale. DFID, UK project (Co-PI, awarded in November 2016)
  5. Provision of technical support for East Asia Pacific Early Child Development Scales (EAP-ECDS). UNICEF Myanmar (Awarded in Oct 2016)
  6. Learning and assessment for digital citizenship. (Co-PI, TRS, RGC granted in Jul 2016)
  7. OECD - ECEC experts. RAND Europe (Awarded in Jun 2016)
  8. A comparative study of early childhood education in selected high performing countries. PI of Hong Kong part, NCEE, USA; Columbia University (Awarded in May 2016)
  9. Baseline survey of ECCE facilities in AROB and PNG. UNICEF – Papua New Guinea project (Awarded in Mar 2016)
  10. Survey of Teachers in Pre-Primary Education (STEPP). UNESCO (Awarded in Dec 2015)
  11. Early child development scale in-depth analysis. UNICEF - Cambodia (Awarded in Nov 2015)
  12. EAP-ECDS shortened version. ARNEC (Awarded in Sep 2015)
  13. Promoting early development and learning in children from ethnic minorities. Principal Investigator, UBS Optimus Project (Awarded in Dec 2014)
  14. Early childhood development and cognitive development in developing countries: A Rigorous literature review. Principal Investigator, DFID, UK project (Awarded in Jan 2013)
  15. Validation, finalization and adoption of the East Asia-Pacific Early Child Development Scales (EAP-ECDS). Principal Investigator, UNICEF – EAPRO project (Awarded in Jan 2013)​
Co-investigator
  1. Early Childhood Intervention to Reduce Deficits of Underprivileged Children (Co-Investigator, Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust granted in 2017)
  2. The gap between the rich and the poor: From school readiness to school success. RGC. (GRF granted in 2013)
  3. The early development of children from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Do our children need early intervention? RGC. (GRF granted in 2011)
Publications
Books and monographs
  1. Rao, N., Zhou, J., & Sun, J. (Eds.) (2017). Early childhood education in Chinese societies. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
  2. Rao, N., Pearson, E., Cheng, K.M., & Taplin, M. (2013). Teaching in primary schools in China and India: Contexts of learning. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
  3. Rao, N., & Sun, J. (2010). Early childhood care and education in the Asia-Pacific region: Moving towards Goal 1 (97pp). Hong Kong: Comparative Education Research Centre, The University of Hong Kong/UNESCO.

 

Research reports
  1. Rao, N., Becher, Y., Lee, D., Richards, B., Sun, J., Bacon-Shone, J., Ip, P., Umayahara, M., & Chen, E. (2017). Assessing early development and learning: the East Asia-Pacific Early Childhood Development Scales (EAP-ECDS). EAP-ECDS Brief. ARNEC. UNICEF.
  2. Rao, N., Lau, C., Koong, M., & Wong, J.M.S. (Submitted in 2017). Responsive policy making and implementation: from equality to equity in Hong Kong's early childhood policy.
  3. Rao, N., Richards, B., Umayahara, M., Sun, J., Bacon-Shone, J., Ip, P., Lee, D., & Becher, Y. (2017). Myanmar East Asia-Pacific Early Child Development Scales (EAP-ECDS) Project. UNICEF: Myanmar.
  4. Rao, N., Becher, Y., Lau, C., Chen, E., Lee, D., Tse, S.K., McBride, C., Richards, B., & Lo, O. (2017). Promoting early development and learning in children from ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. Narrative report. Opimus Foundation, UBS.
  5. Rao, N., Lee, D., Becher, Y., Taplin, M. (2016). Enhancing Early Child Development in Papua New Guinea: Findings from the Early Childhood Facility Survey. UNICEF Papua New Guinea.
  6. Rao, N., Sun, J., Ip, P. Bacon-Shone, J. Sincovich, A., Ho, F.K., & Gao, S. (2016). Early Child Development Scale in-depth Analysis. Final Report. UNICEF. Cambodia.
  7. Rao, N. & Lau, C. (2016). Development of a conceptual framework for the Survey of Teachers in Pre-Primary Education (STEPP) survey. UNESCO: Paris.
  8. Rao, N., Sun, J., Ng, M., Becher, Y., Lee, D., Ip, P., & Bacon-Shone, J. (2014). Validation, Finalization and Adoption of the East Asia-Pacific Early Child Development Scales (EAP-ECDS). UNICEF.
    http://www.arnec.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/EAP-ECDS-Final-Report1.pdf 
    Winner of Best of UNICEF Research
    UNICEF Office of Research (2015). Early Childhood Development in East Asia and Pacific: Culturally sensitive testing. In Best of UNICEF Research 2015 (p.19-23) Florence, Italy
     http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/00%20Best%20of%20UNICEF%202015_layout_web3.pdf
  9. Rao, N., Sun, J., Wong, J.M.S., Weekes, B.S., Ip, P., Shaeffer, S., Young, M.E.,  Bray, M., Chen, E., & Lee, D. (2014).  Early childhood development and cognitive development in developing countries: A rigorous literature review (pp. 99). DFID, UK Government.
    http://eppi.ioe.ac.uk/cms/Default.aspx?tabid=3465

 

Book chapters
  1. Lau, C., & Rao, N. (Submitted). Early Childhood Education in Hong Kong. In J. Roopnarine, J.E. Johnson, S. Quinn & M. Patte (Eds), Handbook of International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education. New York: Routledge. 
  2. Rao, N., & Sun, J. (2017). Introduction. In N. Rao, J. Zhou, & J. Sun (Eds.). Early childhood education in Chinese societies (pp.1-8). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
  3. Rao, N., & Sun, J. (2017). Conclusions: Similarities and distinctions in early childhood education in Chinese societies. In N. Rao, J. Zhou, & J. Sun (Eds.). Early childhood education in Chinese societies (pp.251-257). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
  4. Ng, S.S.N., Sun, J., Lau, C., & Rao, N. (2017). Early childhood education in Hong Kong: Progress, challenges and opportunities. In N. Rao, J. Zhou, & J. Sun, (Eds.). Early childhood education in Chinese societies (pp.147-169). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
  5. Sun, J., & Rao, N. (2017). Growing up in Chinese families and societies. In N. Rao, J. Zhou, & J. Sun, (Eds.).  Early childhood education in Chinese societies (pp.11-29). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
  6. Rao, N., Ng, S.S. N., & Sun, J. (2016). Early learning experiences of young Chinese learners in Hong Kong: The role of traditional values and changing educational policy. In R.B. King & A.B.I. Bernardo (Eds.), The psychology of Asian learners, 978-981-287-575-4, 322416_1_En, (39). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
  7. Rao, N., Sun, J., & Wang, Y. (2015). Cognitive Research in Developing Countries. In A. Farrell, S.L, Kagan, S. L. and K. Tisdall (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Early Childhood Research (pp.449 – 466). Newbury Park, USA: Sage.
  8. Rao, N., & Sun, J. (2015). Quality early childhood care and education in low resource level countries in Asia. In Early childhood care and education: Building the wealth of nations. Paris: UNESCO.
  9. McHale, J.P., Dinh, K.T., & Rao, N. (2014). Understanding coparenting and family systems among East and Southeast Asian- heritage families. In H. Selin (Ed.), Parenting across cultures: Childrearing, motherhood and fatherhood in non-western cultures (pp.163-173). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.  doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-7503-9_12.
  10. Sayed., Y, Kanjee, A., Rao, N. (2014). Assessment of and for Learning. In D.A. Wagner (Ed), Learning and Education in Developing Countries: Research and Policy for the 2014 UN Development Goals. Palgrave Pivot. 
  11. Rao, N., Sun, J., & Zhang, L. (2014). Learning to Learn in early childhood: Home and preschool influences in Chinese learners. In C. Stringher, & R. Deakin (Eds.) Learning to learn for all: Theory, practice and international research. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
  12. Engle, P.L., Rao, N., & Petrovic, O. (2013). Situational analysis of young children in a changing world. In P.R. Britto, P.L. Engle, &   C. Super (Eds.). Handbook of early child development research and its impact on global policy. New York: Oxford University Press.
  13. * Chen, E.S.L., & Rao, N. (2012). Classroom processes of gender socialization in four Chinese kindergartens: A contextual account on the teachers’ practices and contributions. In E.L. Anderson and S. Thomas (Eds.). Socialization: Theories, processes and impact. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

* Names following an asterisk indicate that the publication is based on the thesis of a PhD student for whom I was the sole supervisor.

 

Representative Journal articles 
  1. Rao, N., & Kaul, V. (in press). India’s Integrated Child Development Services scheme: Challenges for scaling up. Child: Care, Health and Development.
  2. Weber, A., Darmstadt, G.L., & Rao, N. (2017). Gender disparities in child development in the East Asia-Pacific. The Lancet: Child & Adolescent Health. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(17)30073-1.
  3. Fu K.W., Ho, F.K.W., Rao, N., Jiang, F., Li., S., Lee T.M.C., Chan, S.H.C. , Yung, A.W.Y. Young, M.E., &  Ip, P. (in press). Parental restriction reduces the harmful effects of in-bedroom electronic devices. Archives of Diseases in Childhood. doi:10.1136/archdischild-2017-312639.
  4. Ip, P., Ho, F., Rao, N., Sun, J., Young, M., Chow, C., … Hon, K. (2017). Impact of nutritional supplements on cognitive development of children in developing countries: A meta-analysis. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 10611. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-11023-4.
  5. *Zhang, L. & Rao, N. (2017). Effortful control and academic achievement in rural China. Early Education and Development. 28:5, 541-558, DOI: 10.1080/10409289.2016.1255080.
  6. Rao, N., Sun, J., Chen, EE & Ip, P. (2017). Effectiveness of early childhood interventions in promoting cognitive development in developing countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Hong Kong Journal of Pediatrics, 22, 14-25.
  7. Britto, P.R., Lye, S.J., Proulx, K., Yousafzai, A.K., Matthews, S.G., Vaivada, T., Perez-Escamilla, R., Rao, N., Ip, P., Fernald, L.C., & MacMillan, H. (2017). Nurturing care: Promoting early childhood development. The Lancet389(10064), 91-102. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31390-3
  8. Sun, J., Liu, Y., Chen, E. E., Rao, N., & Liu, H. (2016). Factors related to parents’ engagement in cognitive and socio-emotional caregiving in developing countries: Results from Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 3. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 36, 21-31.
  9. Ip, P., Rao, N., Bacon-Shone, J., Li, S. L., Ho, F. K. W., Chow, C. B., & Jiang, F. (2016). Socioeconomic gradients in school readiness of Chinese preschool children: the mediating role of family processes and kindergarten quality. Early Childhood Research Quarterly35, 111–123.
  10. Tso, W., Rao, N., Jiang, F., Li, A. M., Lee, S. L., Ho, F. K. W., ... & Ip, P. (2016). Sleep duration and school readiness of Chinese preschool children. The Journal of Pediatrics, 169, 266-271.
  11. Daelmans, B., Black, M., Lombardi, J., ...  Rao, N. (2015). Effective interventions and strategies for improving Early Child Development, The British Medical Journal. 351Suppl1, 23 -26. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h4029
  12. *Wong, J.M.S. & Rao, N. (2015). The evolution of early childhood education policy in Hong Kong. International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy, 9 (3). doi: 10.1007/s40723-015-0006-y. URL: http://www.ijccep.com/content/9/1/3
  13. Rao, N., Sun, J., Ng, S.N.N., Ma, K., Becher, Y., Lee, D., Lau, C., Zhang, L., Chow, C.B., & Ip, P. (2013). The Hong Kong early child development scale: A validation study. Child Indicators Research, 6, 115-135. doi:  10.1007/s12187-012-9161-7
  14. Ip. P., Li, S.P., Rao, N., Ng, S.S.N., Lau, W.W.S., Chow, C.B. (2013). Validation study of the Chinese early development instrument (CEDI).  BMC Pediatrics, 13: 146. doi: 10.1186/1471-2431-13-146
  15. *Chan, W.L. & Rao, N. (2013). Variation in the qualities of instruction methods adopted by different kindergartens in Hong Kong. International Journal of Early Childhood Learning, 19, 21-41.
  16. *Lau, C., & Rao, N. (2013). English vocabulary instruction in six early childhood classrooms in Hong Kong. Early Child Development and Care, 183, 1363-1380. doi: 10.1080/03004430.2013.788815.
  17. *Ng, M.L., &  Rao , N. (2013). Teaching English in Hong Kong kindergartens: A survey of practices. International Journal of Literacies19 (3), 25-47.
  18. *Lau, E.Y.H., Li, H., & Rao, N. (2012). Exploring parental involvement in early years’ education in China: Development and validation of the Chinese early parental involvement scale (CEPIS). International Journal of Early Years Education, 20, 405-421. doi: 10.1080/09669760.2012.743099
  19. *Becher, Y., & Rao, N. (2012) Implementation challenges of inclusive education: A review of Hong Kong’s local and international education sectors. Asia-Pacific Journal of Research in Early Childhood Education. 6(2), 101-114.
  20. *Sun, J., & Rao, N. (2012). Scaffolding preschool children’s problem solving: A comparison between Chinese mothers and teachers across multiple tasks. Journal of Early Childhood Research10, 246-266. doi: 10.1177/1476718X11415578
  21. Li, H., Rao, N., & Tse, S.K. (2012). Adopting western pedagogies into teaching Chinese literacy: Comparison of Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Singapore preschool classrooms. Early Education and Development, 23,. 603 - 621.
  22. Rao, N., Sun, J., Pearson, V., Pearson, E., Liu, H., Constas, M.A., & Engle, P.L. (2012). Is something better than nothing? An evaluation of early childhood programs in Cambodia. Child Development. 83, 864-876. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01746.x 
  23. Rao, N., Sun, J., Zhou, J., & Zhang, L. (2012). Early achievement in rural China: The role of preschool experience. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 27, 66-76. doi: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2011.07.001
  24. *Sun, J., & Rao, N. (2012).  Scaffolding interactions with preschoolers: Comparisons between Chinese mothers and teachers across different tasks.  Merrill-Palmer Quarterly 58 (1), 110-140. doi: 10.1353/mpq.2012.0000
  25. *Wu, S-C., & Rao, N. (2011). Chinese and German teachers’ conceptions of play and learning and children’s play behaviour. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 19 (4), 469-481. doi: 10.1080/1350293X.2011.623511
  26. *Lau, E.Y.H., Li, H., & Rao, N. (2011). Parental involvement and children’s readiness for school in China. Educational Research, Volume 53 Issue 1, 95-113. doi: 10.1080/00131881.2011.552243 
  27. *Chen, E.S.L., & Rao, N.  (2011). Gender socialization in Chinese kindergartens. Sex Roles, 64, 103-116. doi: 10.1007/s11199-010-9873-4 
  28. Li, H., Rao, N., & Tse, S.K. (2010). Bridging the gap: a longitudinal study of the relationship between pedagogical continuity and early Chinese literacy acquisition, Early Years, 31, 57-70. doi: 10.1080/09575146.2010.515944 
  29. Rao, N. (2010). Educational policy, kindergarten curriculum guidelines and the quality of teaching and learning: Lessons from kindergartens in Hong Kong. International Journal of Early Childhood Education, 16 (2), 27-39.
  30. *Ng, S.S.N., & Rao, N. (2010).Chinese number words, culture and mathematics learning. Review of Educational Research,80,180-206, doi: 10.3102/0034654310364764 
  31. Rao, N. (2010). Preschool quality and the development of children from economically disadvantaged families in India.  Early Education and Development, 21 (2), 167 -185. doi: 10.1080/10409281003635770 
  32. *Lyabwene, M., & Rao, N. (2010). Pre-primary education in Tanzania: Observations from urban and rural classrooms. International Journal of Educational Development, 30, 227-235. doi: 10.1016/j.ijedudev.2009.10.002
  33. Li, H., & Rao, N. (2010). Multiple literacies: Beliefs and related practices among Chinese kindergarten teachers. Knowledge Management and E-learning: An International Journal, 1, 269 - 284.

* Names following an asterisk indicate that the publication is based on the thesis of a PhD student for whom I was a supervisor/co-supervisor.

 

Other publications
  1. Rao, N. (accepted). Early Childhood Developmet. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Lifespan Human Development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  2. Rao, N., Sun, J. Ip, P., Bacon-Shone, J., Sincovich, A., Ho, F.K., & Gao, S. (2016). Policy Brief. How are Cambodia’s children developing? Evidence-based policy recommendations for Early Childhood Care and Development.  UNICEF: Cambodia.
  3. Rao, N. & Pearson, E. (2015). Assessment of child development across cultures. Assessment and Development Matters. 7 (3), 7-9.
  4. Rao, N., Sun, J., & Becher, Y. (2015). Assessing early development and learning across cultures: The East Asia Pacific-Early Child Development Scales. Assessment and Development  Matters, 7 (2), 21 - 25.
  5. Rao, N., Sun, J., & Wong, J.M.S. (2013). Early childhood development and cognitive development in Low- and Middle- income countries. Evidence Brief for DFID, UK Government.
  6. Rao, N., & Sun, J. (2011). Scaling-up early childhood programs: Moving towards evidence-based decision making in Asia. Bulletin of the International Society of Behavioral Development, Special Section on Intersections between Research and Social Policy. 60 (2), 23-27.  http://www.issbd.org/resources/files/JBD_Nov11.pdf
  7. Sun, J., Rao, N., & Zhang L. (2011). Policy Brief 1. Promoting the development of the under-threes: The critical role of government investment. Singapore: Asia Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood. http://www.arnec.net/ntuc/slot/u2323/publication/ARNEC_policybrief1_HKU.pdf
  8. Sun, J., Rao, N., & Becher, Y. (2011). Policy Brief 5: Promoting the development of the under-threes: What does research tell us? Singapore: Asia Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood.
    http://www.arnec.net/ntuc/slot/u2323/publication/ARNEC%20Resource%20

 

Invited/Keynote Papers
  1. Rao, N. (2017, October). Stunting, Socioeconomic Status and Early Child Development in the East Asia Pacific. Invited keynote presented at the 13th Congress Asian Society for Pediatric Research (ASPR 2017), Oct 6-8. 2017, The Hong Kong Academy of Medicine, Hong Kong
  2. Rao, N. (2017, September). Preschool dosage and child development: findings from the East Asia-Pacific Early Child Development Scales (EAP-ECDS). Invited keynote presented at Session 5, Measuring Results of Preschool Education Scaling ECD: One Village One Preschool by 2020 Symposium on Promoting ECD in China’s Poor Rural Areas. September 19-20, 2017. Guizhou, China
  3. Rao, N. (2017, May). A Systematic Analysis of Hong Kong’s Journey to Quality Kindergarten Education. Invited keynote presented at the OMEP Asia Pacific Regional Conference 2017, May 18-19, 2017, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong.
  4. Rao, N. (2017, April). Population-based monitoring of Early Child Development: Experiences with the East Asia-Pacific Early Child Development Scales (EAP-ECDS). Invited keynote at the International Early Child Development Conference Promoting nurturing care for children 0 - 3years, April 24-25, 2017, Beijing, China.
  5. Rao, N. (2016, November). Preparing our youngest learners for a changing world. Keynote address. Annual Conference of the China National Society of Early Childhood Education, Nanjing, China.
  6. Rao, N. (2016, Oct). The magnitude of child development potential lost-an update. Invited plenary speaker at Roadmap for scaling up early child development: Investment in Human Capital for Economic Growth and Poverty Alleviation, the 5th International Conference on Poverty Reduction and Child Development, October 27-28, 2016, Beijing, China.
  7. Rao, N. (2016, July). Promoting Early Child Development in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: What works and why? Invited presented 24th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development (ISSBD), Vilnius, Lithuania.
  8. Rao, N. (2016, April). Winning the Relay: Joint effort of home and school for non-native learners in Hong Kong. Invited keynote speaker at Lifting a Heavy Weight with Ease舉足輕重 - Smooth Transition to Primary Education for Young Chinese Language Learners, The University of Hong Kong, April 30, 2016.
  9. Rao, N. (2015, December). Supporting the development of 21st century skills in the early years. Keynote Paper. Early Childhood and Elementary Education Division Academic Seminar (ECEED-AC), Hong Kong Baptist University, School of Continuing Education, December 11, 2015.
  10. Rao, N. (2015, October). Assessing child development and the quality of early learning environments. Invited paper.  Fourth International Conference on Poverty Reduction and Child Development & ARNEC’s 2015 Asia-Pacific Regional ECD Conference. A Bright Start for Every Child: Transformative Power of ECD for Equitable Development. Beijing, China, October 21-24, 2015.
  11. Rao, N. (2015, September). Enhancing Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment to support the development of 21st century skills in our youngest learners. Invited Plenary Paper presented at the ECDA Early Childhood Conference and Carnival, 2015, Singapore, September 25, 2015.
  12. Rao, N. (2015, June). Early childhood education programmes and early development and learning in the East Asia and Pacific Region. Paper presented at the 2015 International Conference, Enhancing Quality Childhood Education: Synergizing Global Efforts, Centre for Childhood Research and Innovation, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong, June 18-19 June 2015.
  13. Rao, N. (2014, November ). Early Childhood Development in the East Asia Pacific:  Preliminary findings from the East Asia-Pacific Early Child Development Scales. Public Lecture at Launch of Education and Cognitive Developmental Lab (ECDL) Singapore; National Institute of Education.
  14. Rao, N. (2014, November). Nurturing future leaders: Why and where should we invest to advance early childhood development? Keynote Address. ECCE International Conference: First Steps to Nurturing Future Leaders. Ministry of Education, Brunei Darussalam.
  15. Rao, N. (2014, April). Assessing the early development and learning of children in Hong Kong. Invited speaker at the ECE Public Seminar by the Department of Early Childhood Education, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, April 8, 2014, Hong Kong.
  16. Rao, N. (2014, March). Helping non-Chinese children Learn Chinese in preschools in Hong Kong. Distinguished keynote speech. Conference on the Learning of Chinese in Multicultural Preschool, March 21-22, 2014, Hong Kong: The University of Hong Kong.
  17. Rao, N. (2013, December). Influencing policy through evaluation research:  Assessing early child development in the Asia-Pacific Region. Keynote Address.  Alliance for International Education – China Chapter   2013 Conference, December 6-8, 2013, Beijing, China.
  18. Rao, N. (2013, November). Early childhood development in the Asia-Pacific region:  Influencing policy through impact evaluations.  Keynote Address.  Asia-Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood (ARNEC) Regional Conference, “Early childhood development on the global agenda: Giving all children equal opportunities for lifelong learning, health and success”, 18-20 November 2013, Singapore.
  19. Rao, N. (2013, September). Advancing equity in early childhood development:
    The critical importance of high quality services and effective systems
    . Keynote Address.  Asia-Pacific Regional Policy Forum on Early Childhood Care and Education “Are children ready to learn? Are schools ready for children?” 10-12 September 2013, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
  20. Rao, N. (2013, September). Development and validation of the Hong Kong early child development scale.  Invited address. Korean Institute of Child Care and Education, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
  21. Rao, N. (2013, April). The East Asia-Pacific Early Child Development Scales. Invited speaker at the EASHD in Asia "Streetfood" BBL series, World Bank, Jakarta.
  22. Rao, N. (2012, November). Evaluating the evidence. Invited speaker. International Conference on Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) “Supporting Children’s Holistic Learning and Development: Homes, Schools and Communities” Jakarta, Indonesia. Organised by Asia-Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood (ARNEC), the Indonesian National Coalition for ECCD, and the World Bank.
  23. Rao, N. (2012, September). Evidence-based decisions about early childhood programmes: Observations from Asia. Invited paper presented at Conference on Maternal and Child Health: The Foundation of Population Health. Hong Kong. Organised by Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR Government.
  24. Rao, N. (2012, September). The development and validation of contextually relevant scales to assess and monitor child development and learning in the East Asia Pacific Region.  Pre-Conference Seminar on Early Child Development: Recent research on brain development and assessment tools. Hong Kong:  Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
  25. Rao, N. (2012, August). Using early learning and development standards in the East Asia Pacific region. Invited speech at the South Asia Regional Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education Policies and Practices: Towards 2015 and beyond. New Delhi, India.
  26. Rao, N. (2011, November). The development of the East-Asia Pacific - Early Child Development Scales. Invited speech at the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Early Childhood: Early Experiences matter: Policies and Practices for Ensuring the Holistic Development for Very Young Children. Singapore.
  27. Rao, N. (2011, July). Driving equity in early childhood services: Examples from Asia. Keynote speech presented at 63rd OMEP World International conference - Meeting the Learning and Developmental Needs of our Youngest Citizens. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Institute of Education.
  28. Rao, N. (2011, May). Enhancing government commitment to equity in early childhood education. Invited Speech at Asia-United States Partnership (AUSP) conference - Building a Global Commitment to Families: Supporting Mothers, Fathers, and Young Children, Manila, Philippines.
  29. Rao, N. (2011, April). Construction of early child development measures: Two examples from the Asian context. Invited speech at UNICEF DPRK Early Learning and Development Standards Workshop. DRPK, Korea.
  30. Rao, N. (2011, February). Preschool participation and school enrollment in Cambodia: A longitudinal study. Invited paper. Hong Kong: PECERA (Hong Kong) Annual Meeting.
  31. Rao, N. (2010, October). Educational policy, kindergarten curriculum guidelines and the quality of teaching and learning: Lessons from kindergartens in Hong Kong. Presidential Invited Address at the International Conference of the Korean Society for Early Childhood Education, Busan, Republic of Korea.
  32. Rao, N. (2010, September). Quality matters: Observations from early childhood programs in low resource environments in Asia. Key Speech at World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education: Building the Wealth of Nations, Moscow, Russian Federation.
  33. Rao, N. (2010, April). Evaluating the quality of early childhood programs in poor and rural areas in Asia: Observations from China, India and Cambodia. Invited paper at Conference on “Beyond Child Indicators: A Framework to Assess and Evaluate the Quality of Early Childhood Services and Programs in Global Contexts”. Abu Dhabi.

 

Conference papers/posters (refereed)
  1. Rao, N., & Maehler, C. (2017). Executive Functions in the Early Years in Asia and Europe: Predicting Academic Achievement and non-Cognitive Skills. Co-chair of Paper symposium held at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Austin, USA.
  2. Wang, R., & Rao, N. (2017). Developmental Changes in Executive Functions in children attending preschools of varying quality in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Austin, USA.
  3. Sun, J., & Rao, N. (2017). Preschool attendance mediates SES-related gaps in Executive Functions: Evidence from five Countries in East Asia Pacific. Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Austin, USA.
  4. Rao, N. Sun, J., Weber, A., Sincovich, A., Ip, P., & Darmstadt, G.L. (2017). Stunting and School Readiness in East Asia and the Pacific. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Austin, USA.
  5. Ndijuye, L., & Rao, N. (2017). School readiness of newly-naturalized Refugees in Tanzania. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Austin, USA.
  6. Tan, C.T., & Rao, N. (2017). Child-centred or teacher-centred Approaches? Kindergarten teachers' Beliefs and Practices in Singapore.  Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Austin, USA.
  7. Rao, N. & Nhonh, S. (2017). In-depth analysis of ECD Scales in Cambodia – Early child development scale findings. The Asia-Pacific Regional Early Childhood Development (ECD) Conference. 1-3 Mar 2017. Siem Reap, Cambodia.
  8. Sun, J. Liu, Y., Chen, E., Rao, N., & Liu, H. (2016). Factors Related to Parents’ Engagement in Cognitive and Socio-Emotional Caregiving in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. Poster presented at the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development 2016 (ISSBD), Vilnius, Lithuania.
  9. Wang, R. & Rao, N. (2016). Executive Function in the Early Years: Family Influences. Poster presented at the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development 2016 (ISSBD), Vilnius, Lithuania.
  10. Lau, C., Sun, J., Gao, S., & Rao, N. (2016). Home Literacy Environment and Early Language and Literacy Development in 6 East-Asian and Pacific Island Countries. Poster presented at the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development 2016 (ISSBD), Vilnius, Lithuania.
  11. Rao, N., Sun, J., Ng, M., Becher, Y., Lee, D., Ip, P., & Bacon-Shone, J. (2015, March). Preschool attendance and child development: Findings from the East Asia-Pacific Early Child Development Scales. Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Philadelphia, USA.
  12. Rao, N., Sun, J., Chen, E.E., & Ip, P. (2015, March). Effectiveness of early childhood interventions in promoting cognitive development in developing countries: A systematic review. Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Philadelphia, USA.
  13. Wang, R., Sun, J. & Rao, N. (2015, March). Approaches to learning and early cognitive, language and socio-emotional development in East Asian and Pacific Island countries. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Philadelphia, USA.
  14. Sun, J., Rao, N., Ng, M., Becher, Y., Lee, D., Ip, P., & Bacon-Shone, J. (2015, March). The role of adults’ cognitive and socio-emotional caregiving in early ethnic-related development gaps in Cambodia. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Philadelphia, USA.
  15. Lau, C., Rao, N., & Ng, M. (2015, March). Home literacy environment and English vocabulary knowledge of in Hong Kong. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Philadelphia, USA ment Conference, Philadelphia, USA.
  16. Iwan, A. & Rao, N. (2014, July). Architectural design and teaching and learning: Observations from award winning green preschools. Paper presented at the 66th OMEP World International Conference. Cork, Ireland.
  17. Lau, C. & Rao, N. (2014, July). Chinese parents’ beliefs and home literary practices in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the 66th OMEP World International Conference. Cork, Ireland.
  18. Sun, J., Rao, N. & Liang, H. (2014, July). Child-rearing practices and early development and learning among Chinese children: The role of behavioural regulation. Paper presented at the 66th OMEP World International Conference. Cork, Ireland.
  19. Wang, R. & Rao, N. (2014, July). Home influences on executive function in preschoolers. Paper presented at the 66th OMEP World International Conference. Cork, Ireland.
  20. Zhang, J. & Rao, N. (2014, July). An observational study on early science teaching in Chinese urban kindergartens. Paper presented at the 66th OMEP World International Conference. Cork, Ireland.
  21. Zhang, L. & Rao, N. (2014, July). Getting poor and rural Chinese children ready for school: caregivers’ perceptions of school readiness. Paper presented at the 66th OMEP World International Conference. Cork, Ireland.
  22. Rao, N., Sun, J., Ng, M.,& Becher, Y. (2013, September). The East Asia-Pacific Early Child Development Scales: Item Equivalence across Countries. Poster presented at the 16th European Conference on Developmental Psychology, Lausanne, Switzerland.
  23. Lee, D.P.L., & Rao, N. (2012, July). Implementation of trilingual education in the early years: Observations from five kindergartens in Hong Kong. Poster presented at the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development (ISSBD), Edmonton, Canada.
  24. Lau, C., Sun, J., & Rao, N. (2012, July). The influences of family background on different domains of child development: Observations from Hong Kong. Poster presented at the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development (ISSBD), Edmonton, Canada.
  25. Lau, G.L.C., Rao, N., & Lee, P.L.D. (2011, November). Facilitating the development of the under threes: Observations from Hong Kong. Paper presented at the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Early Childhood: Early Experiences matter: Policies and Practices for Ensuring the Holistic Development for Very Young Children. Singapore.
  26. Lau, E.Y.H., Li, H., & Rao, N. (2011, July). The Impact of parental involvement on Chinese Children’s Readiness for School. Paper presented at the 63rd OMEP World International Conference. Hong Kong.
  27. Zhang, L., & Rao, N. (2011, April). The Influence of Preschool Experience on Children's School readiness, self-regulation, and academic achievement in rural China. Poster presented at the SRCD 2011 Biennial Meeting, Montreal, Canada.
  28. Rao, N., & Sun, J. (2011, March). Preschool participation and school enrolment in Cambodia: A longitudinal study. Poster presented at the SRCD 2011 Biennial Meeting, Montreal, Canada.
  29. Sun, J., Rao, N., Zhang, X., & Engle, P.L. (2011, March). Mothers' and fathers' language related activities with children in 22 less-developed countries. Poster presented at the SRCD 2011 Biennial Meeting, Montreal, Canada.
Professional Community Services
  1. (2017 - present) Member, Vetting Committee of SCOLAR's Research and Development Projects 2018-19
  2. (2014 - present) Council Member, HK Committee for UNICEF
  3. (2014 - present) Board Member, The English Schools Foundation
  4. (2013 - 2015) Member, Free Kindergarten Committee, Hong Kong SAR Government
  5. (2013 - 2015) Member, Sub-committee of Free Kindergarten Committee on Objectives, Teacher Professionalism and Research, Hong Kong SAR Government
  6. (2008 - 2012, 2015 - present) Specialist, Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic & Vocational Qualifications
  7. (2006 - 2012, 2014 - present) Memebr, Advocacy Sub-committee, HK Committee for UNICEF
  8. (2008 - present) Executive Committee Member, Pacific Early Childhood Education Research Association (PECERA) - Hong Kong
  9. (2004 - present) Member, Hospital Pay Subcommittee, Playright Children's Play Association
  10. (2014 - present) World Treasurer and World Executive Committee, Organisation Mondiale pour I’education Presoclaire (OMEP) (World Organisation for Early Childhood Education)
  11. (2012 - present) Membership and Professional Standards Committee member, Hong Kong Psychological Society
  12. (1996 - 2013) Executive Committee Member, Hong Kong Committee on Children's Rights
Others
Editorial Board Membership

Associate Editor

  • Developmental  Psychology (2013 - 2014)
  • Child Development (from 2013)
  • International Journal of Early Childhood (2010 - 2014)

Member of Editorial Board

  • International Journal of Child Care and Educational Policy
  • International Journal of Play
  • Asia-Pacific Journal of Research in Early Childhood Education

Book Series

  • International perspectives on early childhood education and development (Springer)

 

Current Professional Memberships
  • Member - OMEP (World Organization of Early Childhood Education - Hong Kong) 
  • Member - National Association for the Education of Young Children (US)
  • Member - Society for Research in Child Development
  • Fellow & Member - Hong Kong Psychological Society
  • Member - American Psychological Association
  • Fellow - British Psychological Society
     
Participation in International Meetings as a Specialist
  1. East Asia-Pacific Early Child Development Scales (EAP-ECDS)Short Form Regional Training Workshop. UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office and ARNEC. July 12 to 14, 2017 Bangkok, Thailand)
  2. Technical Meeting on the Early Childhood Development Index (ECDI) Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS). UNICEF New York. September 2016 New York
  3. European Research Council Starting Grant Evaluation 2016, Step 1 & 2 Panel Meeting. ERC, Brussels. March and June 2018, Brussels, Germany
  4. Special Advisor to National Institute of Education (NIE) Director and Senior Management. April 25-27, 2016, NIE, Singapore
  5. International Advisory Group (IAG). UNESCO Ethiopia. February 16-18, 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  6. Techincal Workshop on Measuring Early Learning Quality and Outcomes (MELQO). Organised by the Brookings Institution, UNESCO, World Bank and UNICEF. July 20-23, 2015, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
  7. International Advisory Group for the Survey of Teachers in Pre-Primary Education (STEPP). UNESCO Paris. July 15-17, 2015, Paris, France
  8. Meeting on Population-level Assessment of Early Child Development, Centre International de Conférences, Genève (CICG), Geneva, Switzerland, WHO. March 11-12, 2014, Geneva, Switzerland
  9. First Meeting of the Steering Committee for the Lancet Series on Early Child Development, WHO. January 27-28,2014, Geneva, Switzerland
  10. Holistic Early Childhood Development Indicators: Technical Committee Meeting, UNESCO. June 21-22, 2012, UNICEF House, New York, USA
  11. Global Compact on Learning - Research Task Force. Organized by Center for Universal Education, Brookings Institute at UNESCO Paris Headquartters. March 7-9, 2012, Paris, France
  12. UNESCO (interagency) Technical Meeting on the Holistic Early Child Development Index (HECDI) meeting. UNESCO Paris. Septermber 13-15, 2011, Paris, France
  13. World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education (Expert Committee). Organized by UNESCO, CIty of Moscow & the Russian Federation. June 2009 - Sept 2010, Moscow, Russia

 

Courses taught at HKU

Undergraduate

  • Girl Power in a Man’s world (Common Core Course)
  • Perspectives on Early Childhood Development and Learning
  • Introduction to Research Methods
  • Observation and Assessment of Children and Early Childhood Programmes

M.Ed.

  • Promoting Child Development in Early Childhood Education (ECE) Programmes
  • Developmental Psychology (for Educators)
  • Social Development and Play in ECE
  • Cognition and Language in ECE
  • Child Observation and Study
  • Child Study & Evaluation of Early Childhood programmes

Postgraduate Diploma in Education

  • Early Childhood Development (Major Method)
  • Understanding Controversial Issues in ECE 

B.A./ B.Soc.Sc

  • Understanding and Guiding the Development of Young Children

Supervised over 50 Master’s and Bachelor’s theses

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