My family name is Hwa (华), and my given name is Yue-Yi (悦义).

If, like me, you can’t read Mandarin, you can approximate my name by saying the acronym for the United Arab Emirates – U.A.E.

I am the research manager for the Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) Programme. RISE is a seven-country research programme that uses systems thinking and a wide range of research methods to grapple with fact that millions of children in the Global South spend years in school without mastering foundational reading, writing, and maths skills. I am based at the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government.

My research looks at various aspects of education systems, with particular interests in the teaching profession, education in developing countries, and cross-disciplinary synthesis. My larger research projects thus far have been:

  • An asynchronous symposium on teacher professional norms in the Global South, comprising a series of interviews and discussant-style essays by experts spanning a broad array of roles, academic disciplines, and country contexts. The interviews and essays have been published as a RISE book, titled Purpose, pressures and possibilities: Conversations about teacher professional norms in the Global South. The launch webinar can be watched here, and my academic analysis of the interviews will be available soon.
  • A book-length primer on teacher career reform in developing countries, co-authored with Lant Pritchett. In this primer, we propose the 5Cs of teacher career reform: Choose and Curate toward Commitment to Capable and Committed teachers. Available here, with an introductory blog here.
  • My PhD thesis on teacher accountability, teacher motivation, and sociocultural context, using data from PISA, TIMSS, and the World Values Survey alongside interviews with teachers in Finland and Singapore. This research has been published in the Journal of Education Policy, Comparative Education, and in the edited volume Trust, Accountability, and Capacity in Education System Reform (eds. Ehren & Baxter).

Prior to starting the PhD, I spent two years teaching English in a high-need secondary school in my home country, Malaysia, and then worked at the Penang Institute, a think tank.

I am in the midst of adding my research to this website. In the meantime, my CV (which includes a contact email) is available here, and my current research and writing for RISE is available here.