CHUA Soo Meng Jude

Associate Professor

Head, Policy Curriculum & Leadership

Policy, Curriculum and Leadership (PCL)

Office Location

FCoT, FRHistS, PhD


Office Telephone Number

Research Interests
Philosophy of Education; Issues in Education Policy; Ethics (Natural Law Theory); History of Ideas

  • Jude Chua Soo Meng is Associate Professor and Head at Policy, Curriculum and Leadership, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He had been  Asst Dean at the Graduate Programmes Office and programme coordinator for the Dual Award Doctorate in Education (EdD DA) Programme offered with Institute of Education (IoE), London.  He won the Novak Award in 2003.  His interest is in philosophy of education and is an elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS) and a Fellow of the College of Teachers (FCollT).  

    He also co-chairs and sits in committees to conceptualize NIE's doctoral programmes. With an enduring interest in the thought of Thomas Aquinas, he is also on occasion Visiting Research Scholar at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University and a visiting member of its Las Casas Institute, Oxford.

    His recent piece is "On Play Schools and Gifted Education: Reflection on Mutual Futures", Mooney and Nowaki (ed.), in Aquinas, Education and the East, which reacts to the Las Casas Institute Report by its Director Francis Davis on Labour Government's taxation policies regarding faith schools in UK, and Las Casas' recommendation to develop schools into social enterprise zones.

    On Francis' invitation, he has also addressed British School Governors and Headteachers at the Renewing the Social Conscience Conference at Oxford in 2010. He earned his PhD (2005) in comparative legal philosophy from the National University of Singapore (NUS) under a President’s Graduate Fellowship, examining in his dissertation eastern and western theories of law and governance, with a focus on John Finnis' new natural law theory and Wang Bi's thought, under the supervision of the leading scholar of Chinese philosophy, Professor Alan Chan K-L.

    He won a Visiting Graduate Fellowship from the world leading Centre for Philosophy of Religion, University of Notre Dame (USA) in 2003 and worked with the eminent natural law theorist Professor John Finnis FBA , Professor Emeritus of Law and Legal Philosophy at University of Oxford and Biolchini Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, the author of "Natural Law and Natural Rights". In 2003, upon Professor Finnis' invitation, he joined Professor Finnis in friendly debate with prominent legal positivists Professors Joseph Raz (Oxford), Matthew Kramer (Cambridge), Timothy Endicott (Oxford) and Brian Leiter (Texas) at the University of Notre Dame. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS), at University College, London for publications in medieval studies in 2006.

    He holds a Fellowship qualification of the College of Teachers (FCOT) at Institute of Education, London for substantially innovative published works in education in 2006, and was elected a Fellow of the College of Teachers (FCollT) for further "significant contributions to educational literature" in 2010. For a time he taught philosophy for the Raffles Programme at the Raffles Girls' School (Secondary), Singapore.

    He has written a few pieces for Education Today: A Journal of the College of Teachers, London, including a recent piece on ethics in climatic change education that drew a sympathetic response from Professor Michael Reiss HonFCOT (IoE, London), who was formerly director for science education at the Royal Society. He is the author of "A Philosophy of Education: Teaching and Learning Meaningfully and Responsibly" (Prentice Hall, 2006), which develops a new natural law version of educational philosophy, and which was positively reviewed in Education Today by Professor Ray Page, HonFCOT.

    In 2002, and prior to his doctorate, he won the prestigious US$10,000 Novak Award, (Acton Institute, Michigan), named after Templeton Prize Winner Michael Novak, for outstanding research in religion, ethics and economics, for his paper, "First Principles of the Creative Economy: Towards A Thomistic Onto-theology of Self Communicative Ownership", published in Journal of Markets and Morality. The paper explores the metaphysical presuppositions of economic entrepreneurship. He then delivered the Calihan Lecture on Conceptions on the Just Price under natural law theory at the University of Notre Dame, also published in Journal of Markets and Morality. He remains the only Asian Novak Laureate.

    He has also been a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Business and Humanism at the University of Navarra, Spain. He continues to engage the pervasiveness of economic thinking in educational discourse. He sits on the board of directors of United Nations Association of Singapore (UNAS), and chairs its peace studies commitee. He is a founding Fellow of the Blue Capper Programme (FBCap) at UNAS, which supports and recognizes educators in the service of UN values, human dignity, peace and social cohesion, and edits the Working Papers Series section of the UNAS Think! Forum, an online journal of social commentary. Under a Calihan Fellowship, he was a member of the delegation with NGO Dominicans for Justice and Peace at the then UN Commission for Human Rights, Geneva in 2001. He was elected a Member of the Design Society (MDS) for work in design theory, and is a member of its Design Creativity and Design Theory SIGs. His short piece, "Donald Schon, Herbert Simon and the Sciences of the Artificial" lambasting the design research community for misrepresenting Simon's design theory" was published in the leading Science Citation Index (Expanded) listed design research journal, Design Studies, Vol. 30.1 in 2009. He was a Salzburg Global Seminar Fellow, Salzburg Austria (Session: Young Global Leaders) and a 21st Century Trust Fellow at Merton College, Oxford (Session: Climate Change). He is also an Acton Institute and Mises Institute Alumnus. He has also been a Visiting Fellow at the Thomas More Institute, London. He has also consulted for Asia-Europe Foundation / Casa Asia, Barcelona on topics relevant to universal values and responsibilities. With an abiding fascination with Doaism, his recent piece “Tracing the Dao: Wang Bi’s Theory of Names” appears in Philosophy and Religion in Early Medieval China, Alan Chan & Yuet-Keung Lo (ed.), (NY: SUNY Press, 2010), under a series edited by Professor Roger T Ames. The paper examines the connection between the Chinese neo-Daoist commentator’s semiotics and political theory of moral pedagogy. Currently his research focuses on philosophy of education, design theory and organization change in schools, and Aquinas' relevance for policy thinking and educational issues, as well as comparisons between Wang Bi's thinking on moral pedagogy. He has also been for some time researching Herbert A Simon and James G March's ideas for a science of the artificial and decision engineering. Very recently, he has developed a great interest in semiotics, in particular the thinking on signs by John Deely and his work on the17th Century iberian Thomist Jean Poinsot, and its relevance for analysing Peircian abductive logic. On the side he is editing and hoping to put to print a collection of essays on Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange OP--the so called "Sacred Monster of Thomism", who taught at the revered Angelicum in Rome at the turn of the modern age, but whose work he finds fascinating even if difficult. On occasion he has been asked to speak on sexuality education and pornography, but he does not quite fancy these assignments--finding it rather a burdensome thing, indeed irksome, to tell people how to manage their own bodily urges, and would prefer if people had a look at Finnis' use of Nozick's experience machine thought experiment and draw their own conclusions about a life of pleasurable self-delusions, in whatever form that takes. If you press him, however, he may be willing to discuss a current paper he is working on that addresses some of Michael Hand's objections to conservative sexuality education in schools. Otherwise he would really much prefer to discuss Aquinas' contemporary relevance for interdisciplinary, educational, legal, political, and policy thinking over a cup of tea.