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N.S. Rajendran, Ph.D.(Michigan State), M.Ed.(UM), B.A.(Hons) (UM), Cert.in Edu.
Sultan Idris University of Education
Rajendran Nagappan is the third child to Mr. Nagappan and Mrs. Saratha and was born in Johore Labis Estate, Cha’ah, Johore. He received his primary education at the Johore Labis Estate 2 Tamil School. After completing his primary education, he continued with his secondary education at the Munshi Ibrahim Secondary School in Labis, Johore. He served briefly as a temporary teacher before continuing with his teacher training course at Seri Kota Teacher Education College in Kuala Lumpur. After serving for two years in Perak he joined University of Malaya to obtain his bachelors degree. Later, he pursued his Masters in Education course at the Faculty of Education, University of Malaya as a part-time student while serving as a secondary school teacher in Labis, Johore. He is the first Tamil School educated person to obtain the Ministry of Education scholarship to pursue doctoral level course overseas. He entered College of Education, Michigan State University, USA in 1994 and completed his doctoral program in three and a half years. He received his Ph.D. in Curriculum, Teaching and Educational Policy in 1998. His area of research was on the teaching of higher-order thinking skills in language classrooms.
Rajendran brings with him almost 30 years of experience working at various levels in the field of education. He has the experience of teaching in primary and secondary schools for several years. He has also taught in teacher education colleges for six years. Prior to his present position at the university, he served as the Assistant Director of the Curriculum Unit, Teacher Education Division of the Ministry of Education, Malaysia focusing on research, planning and implementing various subject areas and the teaching of thinking skills at teacher education colleges in Malaysia.
Rajendran has conducted various workshops and seminars for teachers and ministry of education officials on the teaching of higher-order thinking skills, both locally and in countries such as Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong. Besides providing assistance to teachers to improve their teaching of thinking skills, he is also involved in training top level public sector officials in improving their managerial thinking skills through courses organized by various organizations including the National Institute of Public Administration in Malaysia, Malaysian Police Academy and Judicial and Legal Training Institute. He has also conducted seminars and workshops to train teachers and ministry of education officials from Malaysia, Maldives, Bangladesh and Nepal in areas such as educational psychology, pedagogy, qualitative research methodology and teacher education. He has also been involved in consultancy work for World Bank (A member of the team which prepared the Sector Paper on Higher Education titled ‘MALAYSIA: EDUCATION QUALITY IMPROVEMENT PROJECT – Higher Education Policies, Practices and Issues: A Background Paper’). In 2004, he was appointed a panel member of the International Experts Seminar on Intercultural Learning and Dialogue organized by the International Association of Universities, Paris held at Central European University, Budapest, Hungary. He also serves as a Editorial Board member of INSANI Educational Research Journal published by Universitas Negeri Makassar.
He is currently conducting research in various areas. The biggest being, Teachers’ pedagogical decision making qualities: The need for transformation of teaching practice funded by Malaysia’s Eighth Malaysia Plan. He is also one of the two National Research Coordinators from Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idirs who are involved in a Cross-National Study of Primary and Secondary Mathematics Teacher Preparation (TEDS-M 2008) conducted by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) in the Netherlands. His other research projects include, Teacher Education: Issues, Prospects and Challenges funded by Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Teachers teaching students of multicultural background, Assessment of Knowledge of Human Rights Practices in Schools (Research Project by Human Rights Commission of Malaysia), Infusing Higher-Order Thinking Skills into the University Pendidikan Sultan Idris Teacher Education Curriculum, Teacher Professionalization: Building Teacher Knowledge Base for K-Society in Malaysia and Bullying among National and National Type (Tamil and Chinese) Primary School Children, with Reference to Perak.
He has presented research papers at local and international conferences, including the Ninth and Tenth International Thinking conferences held in Auckland, New Zealand, and Harrogate, England, and at the UNESCO Conference on Intercultural Education held in Jyvaskyla, Finland. He was a key-note speaker at the 35th SEAMEO RELC international Seminar in 2000. Title of the paper delivered was Language teaching and the enhancement of higher-order thinking skills. He has written numerous papers on various issues concerning the teaching of higher-order thinking skills in classrooms. His publications include, ‘Teachers teaching students from a multicultural background: A case study of Malaysia’ published in the Journal of Higher Education Policy, ‘The teaching of higher-order thinking skills in Malaysia’, published in the Journal of Southeast Asian Education, and ‘Language teaching and the enhancement of higher-order thinking skills’, published in Language curriculum and instruction in multicultural societies.
He has been actively involved in public service for more than 25 years. He is currently the president of Malaysia Hindhudharma Mamandram. He served as the Secretary of the Third International Skanda-Murugan Conference held in Malaysia in 2003. He is the Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the 7th World Tamil Teachers Conference to be held in Kuala Lumpur in June 2006, and Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the 1st Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris Regional Conference on Educational Research to be held in July 2006. He is also the secretary of the National Action Committee on Tamil Schools and the National MIC Education Committee. He has rendered his services to various other organizations including Educational Welfare and Research Foundation, International Association for Tamil Research, Malaysian Educational Research Association, and Qualitative Research Association of Malaysia.