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Professor RAO, Nirmala

Professor RAO, Nirmala

劉麗薇

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

Developmental and Chartered (Educational) Psychologist,

Academic Unit of Human Communication, Development, and Information Sciences


Qualification

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

Email

[javascript protected email address]

Phone

(852) 3917 7604

Location

Room 510, Meng Wah Complex

Research Expertise

  • Child Development
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Educational Psychology
  • Equity, Equality and Social Justice in Education
  • Parents and Family Issues in Education

Prospective PhD/ EdD/ MPhil Applications

I am not accepting any further PhD/EdD/MPhil applications.

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

 

ORCID: 

http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5695-3156

 

Google Scholar: 

https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=bylNG-4AAAAJ

 

  • Sino-British Fellowhip Trust Visitorship 2018 - 19
  • University Outstanding Research Award (2017-2018)
  • Nehru Chair Professor 2018 - The M.S. University of Baroda
  • Faculty Knowledge Exchange Award 2018 - Impacting early childhood in East Asia and the Pacific through contextually appropriate assessment of early child develoment
  • Hong Kong Research Grants Council Humanities and Social Sciences Prestigious Fellowship
  • 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

Principal investigator (PI)

  1. Enhancing Early Childhood Development in China and India: Understanding the Contributions of Maternal Education and Policy Variations. RGC (GRF awarded in June 2021)
  2. An Evaluation of the Early Childhood Care and Development Programme in Bhutan. UNICEF Bhutan (Awarded in July 2019) 
  3. Are young children developmentally on track? Comparison between adult ratings and direct assessment in China and India. RGC (GRF awarded in June 2019)
  4. Early childhood development, preschool quality, school readiness and early achievement: A longitudinal study in China. RGC (GRF awarded in June 2017)
  5. Assessing early childhood development and learning: the first step to building human capital in one belt one road countries. RGC (HSSPFS awarded in June 2017)
  6. Early Childhood Intervention to Reduce Deficits of Underprivileged Children (Co-PI, Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust awarded in 2017) 
  7. 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 April 2017) 
  8. Reaching expert consensus on training different cadres in delivering early childhood development at scale. DFID, UK project (Co-PI, awarded in November 2016)
  9. Provision of technical support for East Asia Pacific Early Child Development Scales (EAP-ECDS). UNICEF Myanmar (Awarded in Octocber 2016)
  10. Learning and assessment for digital citizenship. (Co-PI, TRS, RGC awarded in July 2016)
  11. OECD - ECEC experts. RAND Europe (Awarded in June 2016)
  12. A comparative study of early childhood education in selected high performing countries. PI of Hong Kong part, NCEE, USA; Columbia University (Awarded in Februray 2016)
  13. Baseline survey of ECCE facilities in AROB and PNG. UNICEF – Papua New Guinea project (Awarded in March 2016)
  14. Survey of Teachers in Pre-Primary Education (STEPP). UNESCO (Awarded in December 2015)
  15. Early child development scale in-depth analysis. UNICEF - Cambodia (Awarded in November 2015)
  16. EAP-ECDS shortened version. ARNEC (Awarded in September 2015)
  17. Promoting early development and learning in children from ethnic minorities. Principal Investigator, UBS Optimus Project (Awarded in December 2014)
  18. Early childhood development and cognitive development in developing countries: A Rigorous literature review. Principal Investigator, DFID, UK project (Awarded in January 2013)
  19. Validation, finalization and adoption of the East Asia-Pacific Early Child Development Scales (EAP-ECDS). Principal Investigator, UNICEF – EAPRO project (Awarded in January 2013)​

 

Co-investigator

  1. Harnessing the power of global data to support young children's learning and development: Analyses, dissemination and implementation (Collaborator, ESRC awarded in 2020)
  2. Protestors and Police: Kindergarten children's perceptions of the 2019 social unrest in Hong Kong (Co-Investigator, PPR awarded in 2020)
  3. Assessing the impact of socio-emotional learning in children in target preschools (Co-Investigator, UNICEF Cambodia granted in 2018)
  4. Impact of early exposure to electronic devices on long term cognitive and psychosocial development of Chinese children: a 7-year cohort study  (GRF awarded in 2018)
  5. The gap between the rich and the poor: From school readiness to school success. RGC. (GRF awarded in 2013)
  6. The early development of children from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Do our children need early intervention? RGC. (GRF awarded in 2011)

Ten most represenative pubications  

Names followed by an asterisk* are those of doctoral or post-doctoral students for whom I am/was the primary supervisor. Items preceded by a # are based on grants for which I was/am the PI.

  1. Leung, C., Hui, A.N.N., Wong, R. Rao, N., Karnilowicz, W., Chung, K., Chan, J., & Ip, P. (2022). Effectiveness of a multicomponent parenting intervention for promoting social-emotional school readiness among children from low-income families in Hong Kong: A cluster randomized clinical trial. JAMA Pediatrics. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.6308
  2. Rao, N. & Fisher, P.A. (2021). The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on child and adolescent development around the world. Child Development, 92, 738-748. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13653
  3. Rao, N., Cohrssen, C., Sun, J. Su, Y., & Perlman, M. (2021). Early Child Development in low- and middle- income countries: Is it what mothers have or what they do that makes a difference to child outcomes? Advances in Child Development and Behavior, 61, 255-277. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.acdb.2021.04.002
  4. # Rao, N., Chan, S. W., Su, Y., Richards, B., Cappa, C., De Castro, E. F., & Petrowski, N. (2021). Measuring being “Developmentally on Track”: Comparing direct assessment and caregiver report of Early Childhood Development in Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar. Early Education and Development, 1-23. https://doi.org/10.1080/10409289.2021.1928446
  5. Rao, N., Mirpuri, S., Sincovich, A., & Brinkman, S.A. (2020). Overcoming challenges in measuring early childhood development across cultures. The Lancet: Child and Adolescent Health, 4(5), 352-354.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(20)30026-2
  6. Rao, N., Weber, A., Ranganathan N., & Ip, P. (2020).Creating equality for girls: on the right track but still a long way to go. The Lancet: Child and Adolescent Health, 4(7),490-491. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(20)30171-1
  7. Rao, N., Richards, B., Sun, J., Weber, A., & Sincovich, A. (2019). Early childhood education and child development in East Asia and the Pacific: A four-country study. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 47, 169-181. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2018.08.011
  8. Rao, N., Zhou, J., & Sun, J. (Eds.) (2017). Early childhood education in Chinese societies. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
  9. # Weber, A., Darmstadt, G.L., & Rao, N. (2017). Gender disparities in child development in the East Asia-Pacific. The Lancet: Child & Adolescent Health. 1(3), 213-224.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(17)30073-1.
  10. 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.https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31390-3.
  • Rao, N., Yousafzai, A.K., & Ip, P. (2017). Systematic review and meta-analyses of parenting and early childhood educational interventions. Web Appendix 2 (pp. 10 -15) as supplement to above article.

 

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., Cohrssen, C., Chan, S., & Richards, B. (2020). An Evaluation of the Early Childhood Care and Development Programme in Bhutan. UNICEF: Bhutan. Download PDF
  2. Rao, N., Lau, C., & Chan, S. with Koong, M. & Wong, J. (2019). International case studies of innovative early childhood systems: The early advantage: Hong Kong. National Center on Education and the Economy. Download PDF. (292pp.)
  3. Pearson, E., Hendry, H., Rao, N., Aboud, F., Horton, C., Siraj, I., Raikes, A., Miyahara, J. (2017). Reaching expert consenses on training different cadres in delivering early childhood development at scale in low-resource contexts. UK Government Department for International Development.  Download PDF.
    Pearson, E. & Rao, N. (2017). Evidence brief: Training early childhood development cadres in low-resource contexts. UK Government Department for International Development.  Download PDF.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Rao, N. & Lau, C. (2016). Development of a conceptual framework for the Survey of Teachers in Pre-Primary Education (STEPP) survey. UNESCO: Paris.
  9. Rao, N., Sun, J., Bacon-Shone, J., Ip, P. & Becher, Y. (2016). East Asia- Pacific Early Child Development Scales - Sharot Form: Final Report. Singapore: Asia Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhoo.
  10. 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. Download 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. Download PDF.
  11. 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. Reid, J.L., Kagan, S.L., Rao, N., & Landsberg, E. (2019). Strong policy foundations. In S.L. Kagan (Eds.), The Early Advantage 2 -Building systems that work for young children. International insights from innovative early childhoo dsystems. (pp. 20 –  49). New York: Teachers College Press. 
  2. Rao, N., & Lau, C. (2018). Responsive policymaking and implementation: Enhancing ECEC system quality and equity in Hong Kong. In S.L. Kagan (Eds.), The Early Advantage 1 - Early childhood systems that lead by example. A comparative focus on international early childhood education (pp. 99 – 127). New York: Teachers College Press. 
  3. Rao, N., & Wong, J.M.S. (2018). Early childhood developmet. In M.H. Bornstein (Ed.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Lifespan Human Development (pp. 688-691). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 
  4. Lau, C., & Rao, N. (2018). 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 (pp. 149-161). New York: Routledge. 
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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 SAGEHandbook of Early Childhood Research (pp.449 – 466). Newbury Park, USA: Sage.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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. 
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. * 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.

 

Other publications

  1. Rao, N., & Wong, J.M.S. (2018). Early childhood development. In M.H. Bornstein (Ed.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Lifespan Human Development (pp.688-691). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Rao, N. & Pearson, E. (2015). Assessment of child development across cultures. Assessment and Development Matters. 7(3), 7-9.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. 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. Download PDF
  9. 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.

 

Invited/Keynote Paper 

  1. Rao, N. (2021, December). Importance of early learning environments for promoting equality in education. Invited Intervention at the Opening Session of the International Seminar on the Evloving Rihgt to Education. UNESCO., Paris. https://events.unesco.org/event?id=968929687(online)

  2. Rao, N. (2021, November). Promoting learning at home and in early childhood education: What works and why? Keynote adress at the OMEP Asia Pacific Regional Conferrence 2021 - Strong Children Today, better Asia-Pacific Tomorrow, hosted by OMEP China and CHina National Society for Early Childhood Education (CNSECE), November 6, 2021. Hangzhou, China. http://hygl.07baby.com/?id=cHJITWpyaWw%3D(online). 

  3. Rao, N. (2021, October). Early Childhood Education Quality Matters. Engaging Policymakers in Early Childhood, World Bank, Early Learning Partnership. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIKI9EaRHZU(online)

  4. Rao, N. (2021, July). Right from the start: Ensuring quality and inclusive early childhood care and education for all – Launch Webinar. Global Education Monitoring Report and UNESCO.  https://events.unesco.org/event?id=4190107614&lang=1033
         and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17Q0HYeOx1A

  5. Rao, N. (2021, June). Scaling up quality early childhood Education: What gets measured gets done. Invited panelist at the Education Global Practices BBL Series, June 3, 2021. World Bank Education Practice.

  6. Rao, N. (2021, March). The Evolution of Early Childhood Education in Hong Kong: Prioritizing Quality in Policy. Keynote presentation at the College of Education, UAE University on Emirati Child Day, March 15, 2021 (online)

  7. Rao, N. (2020, December). Challenges in measuring participation in pre-primary education. Webinar on Harnessing Global Data for young children. Early Childhood Development Action Network (ECDAN). https://www.ecdan.org/assets/harnessing-global-data-webinar-10-12-2020-presentations.pdf

  8. Rao, N. (2020, December). Invited panelist at the 3rd KICCE Webinar in collaboration with the UNESCO Bangkok & ARNEC on ECCE Policy Development Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region: Outcomes and Future Tasks. December 29, 2020. Korea. https://kicce.re.kr/eng/board/view.do?menu_idx=20&board_idx=41191&manage_idx=99 (online)

  9. Rao, N. (2020, November). Working with young children: What’s psychology got to do with it? Invited speaker at The Hong Kong Psychological Society Golden Jubilee Webinar Series II – Loving our work with children and families. November 20, 2020, Hong Kong. https://hkps.org.hk/en/conferences_and_events/detail/5/ (online)

  10. Rao, N. (2020, September). ECD Strategies in reaching out to children from poor communities during COVID 19, lessons learnt and policy implications. Invited moderator at the SAFECDP’s 2nd Webinar on ‘ECD in the times of COVID-A South Asia Perspective”, September 3, 2020, Bangladesh. http://www.ichdbd.org/professional-forum
  11. Rao, N. (2020, August). ECD Strategies in reaching out to children from poor communities during COVID 19, lessons learnt and policy implications. Invited moderator at the SAFECDP’s 1st Webinar on ‘ECD in the times of COVID-A South Asia Perspective”, August 6, 2020, Bangladesh. http://www.ichdbd.org/professional-forum
  12. Rao, N. (2019, November). Promoting holistic early childhood development across sectors in diverse Asian countries: The critical role of reserach. Presented at the National ECD Conference 2019 on Lending momentum to holistic early childhood development across sectors, November 6-7, 2019. Dhaka, Bangladesh
  13. Rao, N. (2019, September). Building and retaining and effective ECE workforce. Presented at the 2019 Executive Program on Education Development: Prioritizing Early Childhood Education by World Bank. Sept 23-24, 2019. Kunming, China. 
  14. Rao, N. (2019, August). Building and retaining and effective ECE workforce: Challenges and opportunities. Presented at the Quality Early Learning Project Authors’ Workshop by World Bank. August 12, 2019. Washington DC. New York.
  15. Rao, N. (2019, June). The quality of early learning environments and early child development: Observations from diverse Asian contexts. Paper presented at the Qualitative Methods Hub. June 13, 2019, Department of Education, University of Oxford.
  16. Rao, N. (2019, June). Early Childhood Policy and preschool quality: Observations from diverse Chinese contexts. Paper presented at the Child Development and Learning Seminar. June 5, 2019, Department of Education, University of Oxford.
  17. Rao, N. (2019, March). The quality of early learning environments and early child development: Observations from diverse Asian contexts. Presented at the Conference Home and School Influences on Early Learning: Cross Cultural Perspectives. March 28-29, 2019, University of Chicago Hong Kong Campus.
  18. Rao, N. (2019, March). Assessing whether young children are developmentally on track. Presented at the Public Lecture of Developmentally on Track:  Supporting our youngest learners, March 4, 2019, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
  19. Rao, N. (2019, January). Early Childhood Education and the way forward: South and South East Asia. Invited speaker at the Human Development in a Globalizing World: Perspectives from South and South-East Asia, January 31 – February 2, 2019, M.S. University of Baroda, Vadodara.
  20. Rao, N. (2019, January). Promoting classroom quality: What can teachers do? Invited speaker at the KeySteps@JC Conference: Building strong foundations for early development and Learning, Hong Kong Jockey Club, January 26, 2019, Yew Chung International School, Hong Kong.
  21. Rao, N. (2018, December). Policy and quality: Observations from diverse Chinese contexts. Invited speaker at the International Conference on Preschool Education Quality (ICPEQ) 2018, December 13-14, 2018, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.
  22. Rao, N. (2018, October 3). Implementation issues and continuous improvement within preschool settings. 2nd webinar of webinar series: What, why and how ECD interventions work. Series for the New York Academy of Sciences, October 3, 2018, National Institute for Early Education Research.  http://nieer.org/publications/anyas-special-series (online)
  23. Rao, N. (2018, August).Overcoming barriers to gender equality in education in developing countries: What works and why? Keynote Speech presented at the IB World Student Conference 2018, July 31-August 6, 2018, The University of Hong Kong.
  24. Rao, N. (2018, July).Bridging Research, Policy and Practice in Early Childhood Education in the Asia Pacific. Keynote Speech presented at the Pacific Early Childhood Education Research Association Annual Conference 2018 (PECERA 2018), July 6-8, 2018, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.
  25. Rao, N. (2018, June).Supporting children from ethnic minorities in kindergartens in Hong Kong & Evaluating the Effectiveness of Early Childhood Education in East Asia-Pacific:  What counts as evidence? Invited Panel speaker at 2nd International Early Childhood Action Congress, June 14-15, 2018, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Headquarters, Château de la Muette, Paris.
  26. Rao, N. (2018, May). How can we use evidence to improve early childhood education? Invited speaker for Early Childhood Education Panel at Human Welfare Conference 2018, May 11-12, 2018, Green Templeton College, Oxford, UK.
  27. Rao, N. (2017, November). Trends in early childhood education: Observations from OECD and high-performing jurisdictions. Keynote Speech at the New Free Quality Kindergarten Education Forum, Nov 17, 2017, The University of Hong Kong.
  28. 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
  29. 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
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. Rao, N. (2016, April). Kindergarten Education in Hong Kong: Striving for Quality and Equity. Invited presentation. National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological Institute, Singapore.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. Rao, N. (2015, March). Early childhood development in the East Asia Pacific:  Preliminary findings from the East Asia-Pacific Early Child Development Scales. Invited paper. Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, Forum on Investing in Young Children Globally. Hong Kong: The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

 

Conference papers/posters (refereed)

  1. Rao, N. (2022, February). Supporting playful learning in the early years: Challenges and opportunities in the COVID-19 era. Invited keynote speech at the “Play n Gain” project result announcement online symposium, Social-emotional learning through play: Helping children stay connected in times of challenges. CAISE, the University of Hong Kong. https://www.jcplayngain.edu.hku.hk/symp2022?lang=en (online) 
  2. Rao, N. (2021, December). Chair and discussant of Early Childhood Development Session. 16th Congress of Asia Society for Pediatric Research (ASPR) (December 11-12. 2021). https://aspr2021.sciconf.cn/en/web/program/1695?hall_id=7517&date_id=0&class=0&is_satellite=0 (online)
  3. Rao, N. (2021, April). Discussant for Paper symposium: Examining the relationship between parenting and young Chinese children’s emotional, sociocognitive, and academic development presetned at Society for Research in Child Development 2021 Virtual Biennial Meeting (April 7 -9, 2021). https://srcd21biennial.vfairs.com/en/hall# (online)
  4. Yang, Y., & Rao, N. (2021, April). Preschool teachers’ professional development experience and classroom quality across regions and urban-rural areas of China. Poster presented at Society for Research in Child Development 2021 Virtual Biennial Meeting (April 7 -9, 2021).
  5. Yang, S., & Rao, N. (2019, August). Gender differences in the early mathematics skills in six countries in the Asia Pacific. Paper presented at the 4th Lancaster Conference on Infant and Early Child Development, Lancaster University, UK.
  6. Rao, N., Yang, S., Richards, B., & Chan, S. (2019, August). Relations among linguistic and non-linguistic factors and children’s acquisition of number concepts. Paper presented at the 4th Lancaster Conference on Infant and Early Child Development, Lancaster University, UK.
  7. Rao, N., Yang, S., Richards, B, & Chan, S. (2019, August). Are young children developmentally on-track in Learning, Psychosocial well-being and Health? Observations from China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and India. Paper presented at the 4th Lancaster Conference on Infant and Early Child Development, Lancaster University, UK.
  8. Sun, J., Kang, R., Ip, P., & Rao, N. (2019). Cognitive and emotional self-regulation predict early achievement in Chinese preschoolers. Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Baltimore, USA.
  9. Zhang, L., & Rao, N. (2019). Executive function, approaches to learning and early achievement in Chinese children. Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Baltimore, USA.
  10. Rao, N., Xu, X., & Richards, B. (2019). Assessing whether young children are on-track in the areas of learning, health and psycho-social well-being. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Baltimore, USA.
  11. Chan, S.W.Y., Lau, C., Richards, B., Chen, E.E., & Rao, N. (2019). Promoting Chinese literacy of South Asian preschoolers and their caregivers in Hong Kong. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Baltimore, USA.
  12. Mirpuri, S., Rao, N., & Law, N. (2019). Conceptualizing digital citizenship: An integrative review. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Baltimore, USA.
  13. Mirpuri, S., Richards, B., & Rao, N. (2019). Secular trends in early child development: Decreasing motor development among four-year-olds in two Chinese provinces. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Baltimore, USA.
  14. Richards, B., Lau, C., & Rao, N. (2019). Early childhood education and early child development across ethnolinguistic majority and minority groups in Myanmar. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Baltimore, USA.
  15. Richards, B., Sun, J., & Rao, N. (2019). Dosage of early childhood care and education child development outcomes in East Asia Pacific. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Baltimore, USA.
  16. Su, Y., Lau, C., & Rao, N. (2019).  Early education policy and preschool attendance in China: Findings from the China Family Panel Studies. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Baltimore, USA.
  17. Wang, R.K.Y., Su, X., Richards, B., & Rao, N. (2019).  Executive function development in urban and rural areas in China. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Baltimore, USA.
  18. Richards, B. & Rao, N. (2018). ECE programme participation, language of instruction, and early child development in Myanmar. Paper presented at the 2018 Asia-Pacific Regional Early Childhood Development (ECD) Conference, 5-7 June 2018, Kathmandu, Nepal.
  19. Pearson, E., Hendry, H. & Rao, N. (November, 2017). Meeting the needs of ECD cadres: Findings from a study of global expert perspectives. Paper presented at the 2nd International Conference on Early Childhood Development in uncertain times: From awareness and evidence to commitment and action, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  1. (2019-2020) Member, Advisory Committee of ECD Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), Harvard, UNICEF, HarvardX
  2. (2019 - present) Co-Chari, Knowledge Fellow Steering Committee, Early Childhood Development Action Network (ECDAN)
  3. (2018 - present) Member, Advisory Group, Early Childhood Workforce Initiative, ISSA and R4D, Netherlands
  4. (2018 - present) Member, Thematic Group on Early Childhood Care and Education Teachers and Facilitators (TG-ECCE) of the International Taskforce on Teachers for Education 2030 (TTF), UNESCO
  5. (2018 - present) Member, Advisory Board, South Asia Forum of Early Childhood Development Professionals (SAFECDP)
  6. (2017 - present) Member, Vetting Committee of SCOLAR's Research and Development Projects 2018-19
  7. (2014 - present) Council Member, HK Committee for UNICEF
  8. (2014 - 2020) Board Member, The English Schools Foundation
  9. (2013 - 2015) Member, Free Kindergarten Committee, Hong Kong SAR Government
  10. (2013 - 2015) Member, Sub-committee of Free Kindergarten Committee on Objectives, Teacher Professionalism and Research, Hong Kong SAR Government
  11. (2006 - 2012, 2015 - 2022) Specialist, Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic & Vocational Qualifications
  12. (2006 - 2012, 2014 - present) Memebr, Advocacy Sub-committee, HK Committee for UNICEF
  13. (2008 - present) Executive Committee Member, Pacific Early Childhood Education Research Association (PECERA) - Hong Kong
  14. (2014 - 2016) World Treasurer and World Executive Committee, Organisation Mondiale pour I’education Presoclaire (OMEP) (World Organisation for Early Childhood Education)
  15. (2012 - 2014) Membership and Professional Standards Committee member, Hong Kong Psychological Society
  16. (1996 - 2013) Executive Committee Member, Hong Kong Committee on Children's Rights

Editorial Board Membership

Associate Editor

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

Member of Editorial Board

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

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. Quality Early Learning Project Authors' Workshop. World Bank. August 12, 2019, Washington, DC.
  2. Technical Meeting on the Early Childhood Development Index (ECDI) Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS). UNICEF New York. June 18-19, 2019, Tarrytown, New York, US.
  3. Early Advantage 2 Release Event. National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE). May 16, 2019, Washington, US.
  4. Project Advisory Group Meeting on Global Scales of Early Development Project (GSED). World Health Organization. November 2, 2018, Washington, US.
  5. IBE Technical Consultation Meeting on Early Childhood Care and Education. UNICEF, UNESCO and UAE Ministry of Education. September 24 - 26, 2018, Dubai, UAE.
  6. European Research Council Starting Grant Evaluation 2018, Step 1 & 2 Panel Meeting. ERC, Brussels. March and June 2018, Brussels, Belgium
  7. Technical Meeting on the Early Childhood Development Index (ECDI) Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS). UNICEF New York. November, 2018.
  8. 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)
  9. Technical Meeting on the Early Childhood Development Index (ECDI) Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS). UNICEF New York. September 2016 New York.
  10. European Research Council Starting Grant Evaluation 2016, Step 1 & 2 Panel Meeting. ERC, Brussels. March and June 2016, Brussels, Belgium
  11. Special Advisor to National Institute of Education (NIE) Director and Senior Management. April 25-27, 2016, NIE, Singapore
  12. International Advisory Group (IAG). UNESCO Ethiopia. February 16-18, 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  13. 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
  14. International Advisory Group for the Survey of Teachers in Pre-Primary Education (STEPP). UNESCO Paris. July 15-17, 2015, Paris, France
  15. Meeting on Population-level Assessment of Early Child Development, Centre International de Conférences, Genève (CICG), Geneva, Switzerland, WHO. March 11-12, 2014, Geneva, Switzerland
  16. First Meeting of the Steering Committee for the Lancet Series on Early Child Development, WHO. January 27-28,2014, Geneva, Switzerland
  17. Holistic Early Childhood Development Indicators: Technical Committee Meeting, UNESCO. June 21-22, 2012, UNICEF House, New York, USA
  18. 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
  19. UNESCO (interagency) Technical Meeting on the Holistic Early Child Development Index (HECDI) meeting. UNESCO Paris. Septermber 13-15, 2011, Paris, France
  20. 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.

  • Research Methods (from 2019 - 2020)
  • 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