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Professor Rao is a highly accomplished researcher and has a lifetime total of over 300 research outputs across her career. She has authored/co-authored 3 books and 14 major research reports. Professor Rao has co-edited 2 books, and also authored/co-authored 27 book chapters. She has over 100 international peer refereed journal articles to her credit and has also co-authored policy briefs.

  • Professor Rao’s books have been published by Routledge, Springer and UNESCO 

  • She has published in the top journals in the fields of child development and education

  • She has presented keynote papers and have given invited papers in Asia, Europe, Middle East, North America and South America

  • Professor Rao has published numerous articles in what are considered the best journals in the field

  • She has received several external research grants as Principal Investigator (PI) since 1999 including from the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Government’s Quality Education Fund, the Hong Kong Educational Bureau, UNICEF headquarters and country offices, UNESCO, Department for International Development, UK, and Optimus Foundation.  Since September 2012 I have secured research grants as PI or Co-PI totaling over HK$ 200 million

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Key Research Highlights
Early Childhood Development
Early Childhood Assessment
ECDE China


Professor Rao has presented keynote speech and papers in Asia, Europe, Middle East, North America and South America. Here is some of the recent ones.  

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.​

2021, December - Importance of Early Learning Environments for Promoting Equality in Education.

Invited Intervention at the Opening Session of the International Seminar on the Evolving Right to Education. UNESCO, Paris.


Prof Rao intervention talk starts at 1:25:35

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2021, October - Early childhood education quality matters. Engaging Policymakers in Early Childhood. 

World Bank, Early Learning Partnership.

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. 

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.

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