Puan Zuhairah Ali

President, National Association for Gifted and Talented Children, Malaysia / Executive Director, Taman Pendidikan Raihan, Education Activist


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biography

PUAN ZUHAIRAH ALI is an education activist, with interests ranging from literacy and gifted education to empowering the poor. She strongly believes that education is a significant game changer across all divides.

She holds a BSc in Psychology from the Royal Holloway College, University of London, a Masters in Economics from Universiti Malaya focussing on socio economic issues of young women, and a Masters in Literacy Learning and Literacy Difficulties from the Institute of Education, UCL, ranked top in the world in the field of Education.

Puan Zuhairah strongly holds to the old Malay proverb, “Melentur buluh, biarlah dari rebung.” To bend a bamboo, let it be from a young shoot. As such, the foundations of education and more specifically, at tertiary level, begin during the early years of life. That is why she has focussed most of her educational pursuits on pre-school and primary education. Like the firm roots of a tree, a strong foundation is important to stay resilient and flourish in the later years.

Zuhairah is the Executive Director of Taman Pendidikan Raihan, set up 57 years ago by her late mother and pioneer educationalist in literacy and early childhood education, Dato’ Dr Nooraihan Dato’ Amar Sallehuddin.

Her experience as President of the National Association for Gifted & Talented Children, Malaysia over 4 terms has convinced her that the potential of young Malaysians has yet to be fully tapped. With the advent of AI, she is keen to explore how this new tool can and is shaping young minds.

Pn Zuhairah has won a number of accolades in the field of creativity. She is also the first Malaysian to clinch an award at the World Mind Olympiad, UK, in the Creative Thinking Category.

She enjoys working with B40 families. Much of her free time is spent volunteering for outreach educational programmes under NGOs such as the Pertiwi Soup Kitchen, Generasi Gemilang and Malaysian Association for Social Workers.

Pn Zuhairah also loves to tell a good story. She is an active member of the Malaysian Board on Books for

Youths’ storytelling circle and has represented Malaysia at the International Storytelling Festival in 2022. Her latest invitation is by the Pusat Sains Negara this April where she hopes to draw her young listeners into the exciting world of science.

She has authoured and co-authored a number of children’s stories and is working on the 11th publication of a set of pioneer early readers, ‘Terus Membaca.’

She hopes to provide a fresh perspective, as a non-technical expert, on the psychological impact of AI within our Malaysian education system.