UDSM’s ‘Alumna of the Month’ for June 2021 is Joyce Lazaro Ndalichako, Minister for Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) since 2015 and elected Member of Parliament since 2020. Professor Ndalichako was born in Musoma, in Mara region, on the 21st day of May in 1964. She had her primary education at Karuta Primary School in Ujiji, Kigoma, from 1971 to 1978 and her secondary education at Tabora Girls School at both ordinary and advanced levels from 1979 to 1985. With highlevel passes, she was admitted at the University of Dar es Salaam for a four-year degree programme in science and education (1987-1991), graduating in 1991 with an honours degree in B.Ed (Science). For this degree programme, Joyce had taken ‘double-majors’ in Mathematics and Education. With the good passes she obtained in these subjects, she was retained by the Faculty (now School) of Education for a staffdevelopment post of tutorial assistant pending proceeding to postgraduate training. In 1992, she got a scholarship for postgraduate training in the educational psychology programme at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. After a year of good progress in the masters’ programme, she transferred to a doctoral degree programme. She earned her PhD in 1997, specialising in educational statistics, measurement and evaluation. These have remained her subjects of intellectual passion in university teaching, research and institutional leadership beyond.
Joyce Ndalichako progressed through the academic ranks from tutorial assistant (1991-1993), to assistant lecturer (1993-1997), to lecturer (1997-2000) and to senior lecturer (2000-2005). In the course of this whole period, Dr Ndalichako served on a number of academic and professional projects, in addition to mandatory classroom teaching. Her engagement included not only as examiner at the Institute of Adult Education (1998-2004); external examiner at the Open University of Tanzania (2003–2005); consultancy with UNICEF on preparation of guidelines for developing assessment tools for Complementary Basic Education in Tanzania (1998-1999); and a consultancy with JICA in conducting Needs Assessment for non-formal Education Programmes in Tanzania (2003). She also served as Education Advisor on Basic Education Support Programme for JICA (2001–2002).
In 2005, she was appointed Executive Secretary to the National Examinations Council of Tanzania (NECTA). This was a high-level position that demanded full play of her knowledge and skills in matters of educational measurement, testing and assessment not only for the school system but also for the para-professions. With the confidence government had showed in her, Dr. Ndalichako made a number of improvements and changes in the examination and evaluation systems, including grappling with what seemed—and continues to be—a highly tricky and contentious issue of what “it is that can be identified and assessed as “competence-based skills in students” as opposed to ‘‘teacher-based knowledge acquisition skills in students”.
In 2014, Dr Ndalichako left NECTA to join staff of the Dar es Salaam-based centre of the Institute for Educational Development (East Africa) of the Aga Khan University, an internationally renowned university headquartered in Karachi, Pakistan. Joyce joined the Institute at the rank of Associate Professor. In her new employ, she continued to enjoy the same intellectual challenges of university institutions, not only of academic and research training of personnel at home but also of being called upon internationally for conferences and working seminars, in this particular case on educational statistics, measurement and assessment with various groups far beyond her Dar es Salaam base. At AKU, Professor Ndalichako served also as deputy head for research.
It was in 2015, while at the Aga Khan University busy teaching and researching, that Joyce received a Presidential nomination to a seat in Parliament and was subsequently appointed—by late President Dr. John Pombe Magufuli—to a ministerial position. Since then, Prof. Ndalichako has been Minister for Education, Science and Technology. She is continuing to serve in the same position under the new President Samia Suluhu Hassan. In the National Assembly, she is now, as from 2020, an elected Member of Parliament for Kasulu Urban Constituency in Kigoma.
As a scholar and professional, Joyce has remained an ardent teacher and researcher, even though now at a different level of policy formulation and guidance. The following are only a selection of publications representing her scholarly profile: