Our commitment to excellence in regulating higher education in Malawi is upheld by a team of experienced and visionary leaders. Our management team brings a wealth of expertise from diverse backgrounds, collectively working towards our organisation's mission of promoting quality, accessible, relevant and inclusive higher education and training in Malaŵi.

Dr Ambumulire N. Phiri

Chief Executive officer
View full profile

Dr. Ambumulire Phiri has a remarkable 19-year track record in Higher Education leadership. Before assuming her current appointment as CEO for NCHE on 1st March, 2023, she briefly served as Chief of Party for the Michigan State University's Transforming Higher Education Systems Project, funded by USAID. She also held roles as Acting Chief Executive Officer and Quality Assurance Manager for NCHE from 2019 to 2021 and 2021 to 2022, respectively.

During her esteemed 15-year teaching career, Dr. Phiri made significant contributions at Mzuzu University, where she also served as Deputy Dean. Furthermore, she played a pivotal role as the founding Principal of Nalikule College of Education from 2016 to 2019.

Dr. Phiri's expertise includes quality assurance, teacher education, inclusive education, and higher education leadership and management. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Education from the University of Missouri in St. Louis, USA, and a Masters of Arts Degree in Teaching Studies from Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi. Additionally, she acquired a Graduate Certificate in Autism Studies and Developmental Disabilities from the University of Missouri, along with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the African Bible College in Lilongwe.

Her contributions to research include peer-reviewed articles in the field of teacher education and education of students with disabilities, demonstrating her commitment to scholarly pursuits.

With a proven track record of effectively managing higher education programs and institutions and a profound understanding of the higher education sector, her leadership capabilities are poised to create a significant and positive impact at NCHE in particular and the Higher Education system in general.

Mrs Martha Mkandawire

Director of Finance and Administration
View full profile

Mrs. Martha Mkandawire is a highly experienced Accountant with over 27 years in Senior Management, including 5 years of Auditing expertise. She holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting from the Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS), as well as a postgraduate Diploma in NGO Management from the University of London.

Mrs. Mkandawire has earned esteemed professional certifications, including becoming a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (FCCA) of the United Kingdom and a Full Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi (CA, Mw). She also holds the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply Level 6 Professional Diploma, making her an Associate Member of CIPS, of the United Kingdom.

Beyond her professional roles, she serves as a Trustee/Director for Malawi Blood Transfusion Services and White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood in Malawi where she holds the position of Chairperson of the Corporate Services Committees.

Throughout her career, Mrs. Mkandawire has held prominent roles with various organizations, including nine years as Director of Finance and Administration at the Christian Service Committee of the Churches in Malawi, three years as Director of Finance and Administration at the Malawi Bureau of Standards, and nine years as Director of Finance at the National Construction Industry Council. She also served as Director of Corporate Services at SMEDI and worked for five years at Grant Thornton (formerly known as KPMG).

In August 2022, Mrs. Mkandawire joined NCHE, bringing her wealth of experience and expertise to this new endeavor.

Dr Simeon Gwayi

Director of Registration and Accreditation
View full profile

Dr. Simeon Gwayi, an Associate Professor of Education (Curriculum & Instruction), is an accomplished academician and scholar with extensive expertise in higher education academic leadership and management. He has a strong publication record in reputable journals worldwide and has presented at numerous local and international professional conferences. Having served higher education for 21 years, he has accrued over 8 years of leadership experience in higher education having served as Director of Studies, Dean of the Faculty of Education, and Head of Academic Department at Mzuzu University (MZUNI). These opportunities have accorded him invaluable leadership and boardroom experience.

Dr. Gwayi has valuable experience chairing important University and Council statutory committees including the Senate, Academic Planning and Courses Committee, University Quality Assurance Committee, Staff Development and Appointment, and ODeL Technical Committee. Over the past years, he has also chaired and/or contributed to institutional task teams and national committees on matters not limited to the Review of the MZUNI Act and Statutes, MZUNI Job analysis, Review of Promotion Criteria, Institution-wide Curriculum Development and Review, Institutional Quality Assurance Self-Assessments, Review of the National Education Sector Investment Plan, and Ministry of Education’s Tertiary Technical Working Group (TTWG).

Dr Gwayi has been a key figure in curriculum development and review at Mzuzu University and other higher education institutions in Malawi. He supported academic planning and capacity building for teaching staff, focusing on enhancing teaching, learning, and assessment in higher education. Dr. Gwayi's expertise extends to his appointment as a member of Senate at the then Malawi Institute of Management, external examiner for UNIMA’s Department of Education Foundations, and as Coordinator for the Ministry of Education’s EQUALS project implemented by teacher training institutions (TTIs) in Malawi including Mzuzu University. He is also well known for his ability to build successful teams, facilitate successful funded project proposals hence contributing immensely to institutional resource mobilization drive. His ability to nurture and supervise upcoming researchers and postgraduate and undergraduate students’ theses and research projects, respectively has been admirable. His special ability in capacity building related to teaching, learning and curriculum issues are also widely respected and appreciated. Dr. Gwayi has over the years been an active player in supporting the NCHE mandate as a reviewer for registration, accreditation activities including undertaking quality audits for higher education institutions in Malawi.

Dr. Gwayi joined NCHE on 1st July 2023, bringing with him a wealth of expertise to drive forward the advancement of quality higher education in Malawi. It is hence anticipated that his broad understanding and lived experiences in areas of academic leadership, curricular and quality assurance matters will greatly add value to NCHE’s fulfillment of its mandate in regulating higher education in Malawi.


Dr Japhet Bakuwa

Director of Standards and Quality Audits
View full profile

Dr. Japhet Bakuwa is a passionate academic and researcher with extensive experience in strategic leadership, innovation, and action. He holds a PhD in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from Stellenbosch University, South Africa (2015); a Master of Applied Ethics degree from Utrecht University, The Netherlands (2008); and a Bachelor of Arts (Humanities) degree from the University of Malawi (2003). With over 18 years of university-level teaching and supervision, he has a strong background in research, community engagement, and postgraduate thesis examination.

Dr. Bakuwa has held various leadership positions in the university, including Dean of Humanities, Deputy Dean of Humanities, and Head of the Department of Philosophy. He is a member of the UNESCO World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) and the National Bioethics Committee (NACOB). Additionally, he serves on the Advisory Board of Social Ethics Journal of Applied Philosophy in the Philippines and acts as an external examiner at international universities.

He has published extensively, with a book chapter and several articles in referred journals, both locally and internationally. Dr. Bakuwa has presented his research at numerous conferences and has been involved as an article reviewer for prestigious journals like the SAGE journal Public Understanding of Science. He was also part of the Taskforce responsible for drafting the Framework of Guidelines for Research in the Social Sciences and Humanities in Malawi. Furthermore, he has served as Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the Board of Trustees at Sir Harry Johnston International School in Zomba.

Dr. Bakuwa's current research focuses on applied ethics, history and philosophy of science, public understanding of science, and science and technology studies.

Dr. Bakuwa joined NCHE in August, 2023.

John Sadalaki

Acting Director of Planning, Research and Development
View full profile

Contact Us

Area 47 Msokera Street
Next to Chitukuko Petroda Filling Station
Private Bag B371
Lilongwe Malawi

Tel: +265 1 755 884

Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between registration and accreditation?

click for answer and more questions

Q: Can institutions that have failed accreditation continue offering higher education programs, or do you close them?

click for answer and more questions