Datuk Dr. Chiam Heng Keng

Founding President, The Early Childhood Care & Education Council (ECCE) Malaysia


DATUK DR. CHIAM HENG KENG formerly Professor of Social Psychology in University of Malaya, is recognized nationally and internationally as a leading authority on early childhood care and education (ECCE) in Malaysia. Her focus on adolescents’ development and juvenile delinquency shifted to early childhood care & education when her researches showed the root of adolescents’ problems resided in the early years and the gap in development of 3-6 years old children from advantaged and vulnerable families widened with age.

She is the many firsts in numerous early childhood initiatives. Among them, she was the founder of the Bachelor and Master in Early Childhood Education at the University of Malaya, the first of its kind in Malaysia, the Founding President of the ECCE Council Malaysia and Founder of the Association of Early Childhood Educators Malaysia (MAPECE). She spearheaded and worked with the Malaysian Qualification Agency to develop Programme Standards for professional early childhood programmes. She mooted the advocacy for Diploma in ECCE as the minimum qualification for early childhood educators in Malaysia. Her research spans over a wide range: child development, adolescent development, alienation, juvenile delinquency and justice, gifted education, early childhood education and human rights. She has authored books, chapters in books and academic journals and was a columnist for more than 10 years in THE STAR, a leading newspaper in Malaysia.

She was a 5-termed Human Rights Commissioner (SUHAKAM) and was Malaysia’s first Representative to the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC). She received several awards for her contribution to education, ECCE and human rights. The International Juvenile Justice Observatory honoured her with the Juvenile Justice Without Borders International Award 2016 for her significant contribution while serving as a Representative of the ACWC.