Academic Profile : Faculty

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Prof Tan Oon Seng
Centre Director, Centre for Research in Child Development
Professor, National Institute of Education - Psychology and Child & Human Development
Professor Tan Oon Seng is Director, Centre for Research in Child Development (CRCD) at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is also a Chen Yidan Visiting Global Fellow of Harvard University and Fellow of the prestigious International Academy of Educators (IAE).

Professor Tan was previously Director of the National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore where he played a significant role in enhancing teacher education and revitalising NIE’s training programmes to raise the image and professionalism of teachers. His many contributions included helping to initiate the Teaching Scholars Programme and refining the Post-Graduate Diploma in Education programme for aspiring teachers; enhancing teaching practices and international practicum opportunities for NIE student-teachers; and spearheading technology-enhanced learning and design-thinking infrastructural improvements. He founded the NIE Visitor Learning Centre that showcase a state-of-the art centre on innovative teacher education and research. The centre was launched by the then Minister of Education Ng Chee Meng. Prof Tan advocated the idea of highly research-literate teachers in Singapore empowered and confident to improve pedagogical practices through evidenced-based research. His leadership in NIE’s education research proposal helped secure a 25% increase in funding for educational research for the next five years (totalling S$127 million for FY2018-2022).

Professor Tan was previously board director of several key education agencies including the Singapore Exams and Assessment Board (SEAB), Singapore Centre for Chinese Language (SCCL) and NIE International (NIEI). Prof Tan Oon Seng together with the then Permanent Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Education were the first board directors of the National Institute of Early Childhood Development (NIEC). NIEC and CRCD are recent milestone developments in education in Singapore.

Professor Tan was also previously Dean of Teacher Education at NIE where he spearheaded the Teacher Education for the 21st Century (TE21) initiative as a major milestone innovation for teacher education both nationally and internationally. He heads the Singapore team for the Global Education Innovation Initiative (GEII) helmed by the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Prof Tan has been a keynote speaker in major international conferences in the United States, South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, China, the Arab states and Southeast Asia. His keynotes include the National Science Foundation (NSF) Education & Human Resource (EHR) Distinguished Lecture in Washington, D.C., American Educational Research Association Annual Meetings presidential sessions, the Royal Swedish Academy of Science international symposium, and international education summits. He has also delivered major addresses at the world’s leading universities including Harvard University, Tsinghua University, University of Hong Kong, Tokyo University, Seoul National University and National University of Singapore.

Prof Tan has been consultant to many ministries of education worldwide including Denmark, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain. He has also been a consultant to many global companies including Philips, Swiss Microelectronics, Raffles Hotel and Singapore Airlines as well as government bodies and international organisations including Japan International Corporation Agency , Asia Development Bank, World Bank, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Professor Tan has been an Expert Panel Member of the Social Science and Humanities Research for Singapore. He is also an Expert Panel Member of the Tertiary Education Research Funding. He is convener of the World Educational Research Association (WERA) International Research Network on Teacher Education. Professor Tan was President of the Educational Research Association of Singapore (ERAS, 2005-2008) and President of the Asia-Pacific Educational Research Association (APERA, 2008-2010). He was also the Vice-President (Asia and Pacific Rim) of the International Association for Cognitive Education and Psychology (IACEP, 2008-2011).

He is Editor-in-Chief of the Educational Research for Policy & Practice (ERPP) journal published by Springer. He is also the Lead Editor of the Asia Pacific Journal of Education (APJE) published by Routledge.

Professor Tan has authored/edited more than 20 books and over 150 scholarly articles/chapters in the areas of teacher education, cognitive psychology, early childhood and problem-based learning (PBL).
  • Mandarin eBook App and Singaporean Children's Home Reading Quantity, Quality, and Emergent Literacy Outcomes
• 2019 Chen Yidan Visiting Global Fellow Harvard University
• 2018 Outstanding Contribution Asia Pacific Educational Research Association
• 2015 Service to Education Award Ministry of Education, Singapore
• 2014 Public Administrative Medal (Silver) Singapore National Day Honours
• 2010 Honorary Lifelong Fellow Asia-Pacific Educational Research Association
• 2008 Public Administrative Medal (Bronze) Singapore National Day Honours
• 2000 The Enterprise Challenge (TEC) Innovator Award Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore